Pastelón de plátanos maduros (Ripe plantains casserole)

Pastelón de plátanos maduros (Ripe plantains casserole)

Dominicans love their pastelón de plátano maduro (ripe plantains casserole), which is ironic, because apart from politicians, in this country there is nothing that is more maligned than the plantain.

It’s accused, no less, of being partly responsible for our island’s rampant underdevelopment. It is said to block the brain and stop intelligence from flowing, according to some; while others say overindulgence leads to a dazed stupor. And there are even some who go as far as to say that if American children speak English from a young age, it’s thanks to the “conflé” that they eat for breakfast, as opposed to mangú.

Pastelón de plátanos amarillos (Ripe plantains casserole)

Myths, dear readers, pure myths. In this article we demonstrate that there are vitamins and much more behind the peel and that despite all efforts to the contrary, we’ve got where we are today thanks to its nutritional benefits, taste and versatility. Long live plátanos, and we’ll go on buying them even if they are rabizas or undersized runts.

Pastelón de amarillos (Ripe plantains casserole)Origins:
Plantains and bananas come from Asia. History tells us that when Alexander the Great arrived in India, he was surprised by their delicious taste and brought them to Greece. This was in around 327 BC. They spread further across the world thanks to Arab sailors who planted banana and plantain seeds along the east coast of Africa. Although Portuguese explorers introduced the crop to the new world in 1516, African slaves played a key role in making it a central feature of the continent’s cuisine, mainly in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines.

For better or for worse, bananas are one of the world’s most popular fruits. Plantains and bananas only grow in temperate climates and it’s estimated that 12 million tons are cultivated every year. 10 tons come from Latin America.

Family matters:
The banana (Musa cavendish y M. Sapientum) and the plantain (Musa paradisiaca) are two varieties of the same fruit, a long leaved plant of the Musaceae family. Each region has its own varieties and peculiar names: In some countries such as Mexico, Central America and Spain, “plátano” is the word used for both banana and plantain, and the plantain is distinguished by the name “plátano macho”. In the Spanish-speaking Caribbean we call the banana “guineo”, while the Venezuelans call it “cambur”. Dominicans call fried plantain slices “fritos” or “tostones”.

Pastelón de plátanos amarillos (Ripe plantains casserole)

The main difference between bananas and plantains is that the former has more sugar and less starch, while the latter has more starch than sugar and has to be cooked before eating. A plantain’s taste depends on how ripe it is – the riper, the sweeter. Bananas are usually eaten raw, but can also be baked, fried or boiled in a variety of recipes. In India, for example, banana features in savoury dishes.

Bananas are a good food for growing children: nutritious, a excellent source of energy, rich in vitamins A, C and K, glucids and potassium, as well as other minerals. Green plantain is a better source of energy than banana (about 285 kcals per 100g) and is an ideal snack for athletes.

Storage:

Most plantain and banana-lovers know that they should be stored at room temperature. To slow down the ripening process, wrap them in newspaper and keep them in the fridge. It’s also possible to peel and slice plantains for ‘tostones’ and store them in the freezer. Some even fry them once and store them to save time.

Pastelón de plátanos amarillos (Ripe plantains casserole)

Whether fried, boiled, sliced or mashed into a mangú (which a Dominican would never call ‘purée’), mofongo or as a side dish to almost anything, Dominicans remain faithful to their plantains and seek them out and taste them everywhere they go.

As for those of you who still think that plantains make you stupid, this is for you: in India, when Alexander the Great arrived, bananas and plantains were known as “the fruit of the wise” because the Hindu Brahmins used to meditate under the shady leaves of banana or plantain trees. So there!

Himilce A. Tejada

In defense of our popular fruit, Himilce A. Tejada, writer for Diario Libre newspaper, brings us this article, which puts an end to a popular, but erroneous belief that plantains make us stupid.

Pastelón de plátanos amarillos (Ripe plantains casserole)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe, like many others in the Dominican cuisine, combines sweet and savory flavors to great effect.
Serves: 6 porciones
Ingredients
  • 6 very ripe plantains
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • Salt
For the filling
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 small red onion diced into small cubes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Butter a 1-inch tall baking pan.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F.
For the filling
  1. Mix meat with pepper, onion, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and garlic.
  2. In a shallow pan heat a tablespoon of oil.
  3. Add the ground beef and stir so it cooks uniformly.
  4. Add two tablespoons of water and the tomato sauce.
  5. Simmer at medium heat. Adjust water when necessary.
  6. When the meat is cooked throughout let all the liquid evaporate
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from the heat and reserve.
To assemble
  1. Peel the plantains and boil adding 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. When the plantains are very tender and remove from the heat.
  3. Take the plantains out of the water and mash them with a fork.
  4. Add the butter and keep mashing until it is very smooth.
  5. Put half of the plantains mixture in the baking pan.
  6. Cover with half of the cheese.
  7. Cover the cheese with the meat.
  8. Cover with the remaining plantain mixture.
  9. Cover with the rest of the cheese.
  10. Bake until the top is golden brown.
  11. It will be easier to serve if you wait five minutes after removing from the oven.
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{ 52 comments… add one }

  • kathleen prince August 9, 2014, 12:34 PM

    I had this dish in the Dominican Republic. Everytime i went to lunch i had to have this. It is simply delicious.

  • j. franco June 29, 2014, 1:23 PM

    good food

  • Nehal Phillips April 2, 2014, 5:09 PM

    Im an Indian and we eat plantains and beef a lot, though in separate dishes. This recipe as a casserole is by far the most impressive Ive ever seen. As a school student, this recipe is not only nutritious, but also filling and easy to make. Thanks to whoever provided the recipe, it was my first time cooking Dominican food, and Im very impressed by it.

  • Angel January 26, 2014, 12:14 PM

    Too laborious. Go to supermarket freezer and buy two boxes (regular size ) of Goya soft plantains. (There are 2 plantain types: one is round and hard-do not use. And the other is soft that look like sliced bananas-use this one).
    Use cooking spray on casserole dish, smash plantains and place one layer to cover bottom of dish. Fill one layer with Picadillo (gound beef- 1 lb.-cooked with Sofrito, pitted Spanish olives, Capers and chopped onions). Drain meat and layer (like lasagna). Second layer are the smashed plaintains, layer again with meat. Layer one more time with plantains, pour in a couple of scrambled eggs to hold it together while it bakes for about 30 to 40 min. Add cheese during prep. if you want, but this is basically an easy and economical recipe. Prep time is about 20 min. and feeds 4 people.

  • Rosa Gutierrez January 5, 2014, 7:05 PM

    Will try this tomorrow

  • Anna November 27, 2013, 2:59 PM

    Can I assemble the night before?

    • Aunt Clara November 27, 2013, 3:02 PM

      Yes, refrigerate and finish the following day.

  • Lindsay Ellis August 7, 2013, 12:41 PM

    exactly what size of pan do you use for this? I want to make this recipe.

    • Aunt Clara August 8, 2013, 11:37 AM

      9 1/2 x 12 x 3 inches. Something of similar size would work.

  • Elizabeth Rentas August 5, 2013, 5:11 PM

    Puerto Ricans make this also and I call it Puerto Rican lasagna.

  • sandra Barrow September 15, 2012, 11:43 PM

    Aunt Clara, thank you so much for such a wonderful website. My daughter loves the rice and beans. I particularly would like to make the Pastelon. I tried many of your recipes and they are wonderful. May God bless you!!!

  • Eskimite September 11, 2012, 12:42 PM

    Saludos y mil gracias por esta receta/el blog! Ahora, vivo en Venezuela pero en el año que viene, voy a mudarme a la Republica Dominicana. La comida dominicana parece muy rica!
    Un preguntita…voy a preparar esta receta pero no puedo sacar un queso apropriado para hacerlo. Se puede prepararlo sin queso? o, al ago que se puede usar en vez de queso sin perder sabor?

    • Aunt Clara September 11, 2012, 7:05 PM

      Puedes usar cualquier otro queso de sabor suave y que se derrita.

    • Elizabeth Rentas August 5, 2013, 5:11 PM

      Yo lo prepare sin queso.

  • Ester May 13, 2012, 10:26 AM

    Hola,

    Yo soy Dominicana y mi esposo no, pero le encanta la comida Dominicana. El fue que encontro este website buscando recetas. LOL Me encanta este website y estoy muy agradecida de usted por compartir todas estas recetas tan ricas!!!!! Acabo de hacer el pastelon y mi esposo, mis ninos, y yo estamos contentisimos! Gracias y feliz dia de las madres a todas!

  • Rita May 5, 2012, 11:18 AM

    Hi. Puedo preparar el pastelon el dia anterior y cocinarlo en el horno el dia siguente?

    Gracias

    • Aunt Clara May 5, 2012, 12:15 PM

      Si, puede que no quede tan atractivo, pero queda igual de sabroso.

  • ANA GONZALEZ April 12, 2012, 3:56 PM

    ME GUSTA MUCHO LA RECETA DEL PASTELON LA ARE MUY PRONTO.MUCHAS GRACIAS POR LAS RECETES ESTAN SUPER.

  • Eufemia April 6, 2012, 2:54 PM

    Puedo usar platanos verdes? Esque casi no me gusta el platano maduro.

    • Aunt Clara April 6, 2012, 3:27 PM

      No veo porqué no, excepto que es sabor y la textura cambia.

  • Alicia March 22, 2012, 6:47 PM

    Making this for class using soy meat instead of actual ground beef, so stoked for it as this looks sooo good and flavorful already! I love that I can make many of these recipes vegetarian and some even vegan! :)

  • Alyce March 17, 2012, 9:52 AM

    I spent two years in the Dominican (2005-07) and love the cooking. This site is a real God-send. I'm going to take advantage of it frequently.

  • Jenny March 14, 2012, 5:51 PM

    Me puedes decir como puedo encontrar

    informacion on carbs in Dominican recipes?

    Mi esposo tiene diabetis y nuestra comida

    tiene muchas carbohydrates

  • Alida Medrano January 29, 2012, 4:47 PM

    It is great!!

  • Geraldine Battle January 5, 2012, 9:23 AM

    Geraldine: This is a good recipe for the Pastelon de Amarillos the you asked me the other day.

  • Debbie Miele December 11, 2011, 1:37 PM

    Hi Aunt Clara,

    The first time I made this recipe it came out perfect and I was a big hit in the office.

    The second and third time was not as succesful. What happens is the plantains are a little hard after I've baked it.

    Please help me. What am I doing wrong. I make sure the plantains are ripe enough. Please help. I have to make this again for another office party this week.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes.

  • Laurie November 11, 2011, 12:40 PM

    I would like to try this with green plaintains instead of the ripe – has anyone done this and if so how was it? My husband doesn't like sweet main dishes.

    • Aunt Clara November 14, 2011, 4:06 AM

      I don't think it will work so well.

    • Rosamaria December 6, 2012, 6:41 PM

      nope it will not be good

  • erika October 19, 2011, 9:18 AM

    Why does the english receipe version say garlic but the spanish version doesnt have garlic as one of the ingredients. Also english version says cheddar cheese spanish version says mozzarella cheese. Estoy confundida como dice Villalona..

    Ayuda plis!

  • Lucy September 27, 2011, 6:46 PM

    Hi, I want to make this for a party of 25 people. Would you suggest just quadruple the qty here? What other things should I look for when making this for a large crowd? I have made it for 6 before it was spectacular- thanks.

    • Aunt Clara September 28, 2011, 4:29 PM

      I have never cooked for that many people, so I am a bit at a loss here. I suggest you make several pastelones using this recipe. You can't make a big one anyway.

  • Nick September 15, 2011, 7:43 AM

    I have been looking for this recipe FOREVER! A few years ago I took 2 week-long trips to the Dominican Republic for Engineers Without Borders, and we stayed at a retreat center where Dominican woman did all the cooking. The food was incredible and everyone's favorite dish was this one, but I couldn't find the recipe until now. Thanks so much!

  • Joanna September 11, 2011, 12:07 PM

    Do you use potatoes in this also? I tried this from someone and I thought I remember tasting potatoes and sweet platones in there. I am making this right now and would like to know before I add it in there.

    • Aunt Clara September 11, 2011, 12:13 PM

      No, I don't use potatoes (or anyone I know for that matter). Whatever ingredients I use are listed in the recipe.

      Good luck.

  • Chimere B. August 19, 2011, 7:19 AM

    I made this for my Dominican sweetie on the first night, well ya know ;-) and OMG he loved it so much. This was a challenge for me but it came out perfect. I've gone on to make a few other recipes and he adored those as well. Thanks so much Aunt Clara because after 2 year of using your site we are getting married! Other then his immense love for me he says he will never find another Morena that can cook some real authentic Dominican food! We moving to together next month and I'm going to surprise him with your Habichuelas Con Dulce! Thanks again!

    • Aunt Clara August 23, 2011, 5:55 PM

      @Chimere: Hurrah! Congratulations, another love story brought to you by Aunt Clara's Kitchen. :)

  • Shakira July 29, 2011, 3:54 PM

    Im going to try to make this for the first time. Im super nervous yet super excited. The only thing I changed was mozzarella instead of cheddar. Thanks so much for the recipe! Here goes nothing! :) Will update and how it came out!

  • Anna Virella July 4, 2011, 2:17 PM

    Encontre esta receta absolutamente DELICIOSO!!!!!!!! Gracias por compartir……..

  • Tiara June 1, 2011, 8:24 PM

    I miss your newsletters by the way! Anyway, this is my first time making this. I could never find a recipe (probably b/c i was spelling it wrong lol). I had this the first and only time way back in like 2004 and was hooked! Ugh, so glad i found the recipe so I can make it myself. Well! Time to get them out the oven and tear it up!

  • Dee May 2, 2011, 4:19 PM

    Hello

    How do you think this would taste with ground Lambi(concha)

  • Amity March 15, 2011, 7:38 PM

    This is one of my favorite recipes…so glad I found it!

  • Alisa March 12, 2011, 7:40 AM

    I could read your blog for hours! I love your recipes, and I cant wait to try them. This would definitely be first on my list!

  • Holandesa March 1, 2011, 10:01 AM

    Mi hombre es un dominicano y yo quiero estar en la cocina con su madre. Quiero aprender cocinar todas las recetas dominicana (yo lo sé, imposible). Ahora puedo cocinar pastélon (plátanos amarillos) , mangú, moro, arroz con maís, ensalata dominicana, y mas… Pero pastélon es mi favoritoooo!!! Quiero muuuucho!

    Tía Clara, muchas muchas gracias por este website y todas las recetas!

    (Soy holandesa, no hablo mucho español solamente un poco, pérdon por mis errores)

  • Karin February 24, 2011, 2:26 PM

    I just found your site and am soooo excited! I am married to a Dominican and am living in the states now, but we lived in the DR for 2 years. Over the years that I have known him I have learned how to make the basics, but when I tried to get a relative or housekeeper to teach me how to make other dishes I couldn't seem to replicate their instructions and whatever I wrote down that they did never turned out the same when I did it. I went looking for this recipe last night as I had a rare 1/2 dozen ripe platanos (not easy to get in Vermont) and was not disappointed…more importantly my husband was not. He actually closed his eyes when he tasted the first bite to imagine he was in the DR and then declared it tasted like he remembered it. Love it!! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to get the cookbook!

  • Cheki February 20, 2011, 8:18 AM

    Can I assemble this the night before? This would be great as a make ahead!

    Thanx

  • Kim February 12, 2011, 12:30 PM

    Hi,

    I would love to try this recipe, but I have a question. When you say very ripe plantains, how ripe are we talking? It seems as though they would already be tender.

    Thanks

    • Aunt Clara February 12, 2011, 3:01 PM

      They have to be yellow outside with maybe a couple of black spots. As long as it is not black under the peel they are OK.

  • Aunt Clara January 8, 2011, 8:03 PM

    I honestly have no idea, and wouldn't dare to guess. If it is of any help a portion is about the size of a deck of cards (see photo), and that would contain about one ripe plantain, about a slice of cheese and half a cup of ground beef.

  • Quilcia January 8, 2011, 5:41 PM

    Hola mi pregunta es si puedes decir cuantas calorias hay en el pastelon de platano amarillo. gracias