OVEN BAKED PASTELLES
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.
- ½ 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 ½ 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 Achiote Oil:
- 1 c. vegetable oil
- ¼ c. achiote/annato seeds
- 1 tsp. whole allspice
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- pinch red pepper flakes
Oil: 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 13x9-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.
Serve with lots of rice. Pass the chili-pepper-water please. Serves 12.