A traditional Caribbean dish made up of a meat stuffed cornmeal pie which is usually wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The Puerto Rican version is what we are accustomed to here; made with green bananas and a savory achiote flavored pork filling.
While it is a time consuming dish to prepare, a co-worker friend of mine shared her recipe for the dish baked as a casserole instead of the individual wrapped parcels.
OVEN BAKED PASTELLES
- 1/2 c. achiote oil (Recipe follows)
- 15-20 green bananas, (about 6 c. after grated)
- hot water, as needed
- 1+2 tsp. coarse salt
- 6 large cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 1/2 lbs. boneless pork, bite-sized pieces
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 (8 oz.) can El Pato Mexican tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 medium bell pepper, seeded, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- 2 bunches cilantro, stems removed, chopped
- 8-10 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 Hawaiian chili peppers, chopped
- 1 (7 oz.) can pitted black olives, drained
- 4 large ti leaves
- 1 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. achiote/annato seeds
- 1 tsp. whole allspice
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- pinch red pepper flakes
- In a saucepan over medium heat, cook seeds in oil 10-12 minutes; until color is a deep orange.
- Remove from heat; stir in allspice, peppercorns and red pepper.
- Allow to steep overnight. Strain.
- Use as desired to flavor beef/pork dishes, rice etc. Makes 1 cup.
- Soak whole bananas in hot water 10 minutes.
- Peel; finely grate into a bowl.
- Add all but 3 tablespoons of achiote oil and 1 teaspoon of salt; mix well. Set aside.
- In a processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind garlic, oregano, remaining 2 teaspoons salt and pepper.
- Transfer into a mixing bowl with pork; marinate 15 minutes.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown pork with garlic mixture in 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Stir in tomato sauces and broth; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat; add onion, bell pepper, onion, parsley, garlic, chili peppers, olives and bananas.
- Simmer 1 hour; stirring as needed.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees; line a 13×9-inch baking pan with 2 ti leaves; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of achiote oil.
- Spread onto ti leaves.
- Transfer mixture into prepared pan; cover with remaining ti leaves.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Place pan into larger roasting pan filled with 1-inch of water.
- Bake 30-40 minutes.
How To Serve:
- Serve with lots of rice.
- Pass the chili-pepper-water please.
- Serves 12.