PASTEL DE CHOCLO
The “Choclo” refers to sweet corn and the pastel indicates that there is a pie-like or pastry-like construction to the dish. Think quiche in a Latin way. And like a quiche the filling inside this pastel could be varied almost infinitely. This one is made with a simple chicken.
Yield:Serves 6 Entrees
One 3-½ cut up fryer chicken
1 ½ Quarts Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1/3 Cup scallions, finely chopped
1 chayote, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ Tablespoon brown sugar
½ Tablespoon ground cumin
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2/3-Cup Spanish Sherry
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tablespoon tiny capers, rinsed, roughly chopped
12 small pimiento-stuffed olives, rinsed and roughly chopped
¼ Cup seedless raisins
2 hardboiled eggs, shelled and coarsely chopped
For the Topping:
2 ½ Cups corn kernels
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
¼ Cup of milk
½ Cup of flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sage leaves, minced
Cook the chicken pieces in the stock, bringing it up to a boil and then simmer the stock for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked in the center.
Let it cool in the stock. When it is cool enough to handle, lift it out of the stock, remove the skin and bones, and pull the meat with your fingers into a large bowl and reserve. Your chicken must be like threads and free of any bones or skins. Reserve 1 ½ Cups of the stock for this dish and store the rest in the refrigerator or freezer for another use.
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and oil. Add the garlic and jalapeno cook at medium-high heat for 1 minute, and then add the onions, scallions, chayote and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon and tomatoes. Stir and cook 2 minutes. Now add the Sherry, tomato paste and 1 ½ Cups chicken stock. Cook about 8 minutes. You want it to still have some “juiciness” so don’t reduce the liquid completely.
Finally add the chopped cilantro, caper, olives, and raisins. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed. Pour this into a four-quart casserole and sprinkle the chopped eggs over it. Meanwhile you may begin your topping for the “pastel”.
Preheat the oven to 375 º.
Clean out the skillet and melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds before adding the corn. Saute the corn for 3 – 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat, cool, and place the corn in a blender with the egg, yolk and milk and process until smooth.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and the salt in a large mixing bowl. Begin to fold the batter into the flour mixture, with a rubber spatula. (You must do this slowly, to retain its air for fluffiness.) Continue until it is all mixed.
Now gently cover the top of the casserole with the corn mixture.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until center of the “pastel” spring back to the touch. Serve.
Serving notes: This dish can be made and re-heated very easily. You could make individual pastels and serve them quite elegantly too.
Norman Van Aken © 2001