Pastelón de Harina de Maíz (Cornmeal & Beef Casserole) combines savory and sweet flavors and the results are nothing short of spectacular.
Why we ❤️ it
This week we had dinner at a restaurant locals know and like well. One of their dishes, Pastelón de Harina de Maíz (beef on a base of sweet cornmeal) brought memories of my first kitchen adventures as a couple, and how this dish was always a favorite of my meat-lover husband.
I think this is one of those dishes that once tried, you'll definitely add to your own repertoire. It just looks refined, while still being simple and easy to prepare, not to mention that it makes for the perfect dish for potlucks and leftover meals.
Think of this recipe as the lovechild of polenta and lasagna. It combines the best of both worlds, but with an added twist: as in many of our dishes, this one combines savory and sweet flavors. For the filling, you can use chicken, vegetables or beef (or just use cheese). Beef should be your first choice though; it just goes well in this combination.
For the record, I don’t think there is an ounce of Italian in this dish, it is purely, unadulterated, industrial-grade Dominican.
I'd love to hear what you think of mixing savory and sweet ingredients in a meal.
Pastelón de Harina de Maíz Recipe (Cornmeal & Beef Casserole)
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To prepare the tomato sauce
- Heat oil and cook and stir tomatoes, garlic, onion and a pinch of oregano, add water and sugar. Simmer over low heat until you obtain a thick (chunky) sauce. Season with salt to taste. You should obtain about 6 cups of sauce. Set aside.
To make the filling
- In a skillet heat oil over low heat. Cook and stir the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and oregano. Stir in the ground beef. When the meat starts to release liquid, add two cups of tomato sauce previously made (set aside remaining sauce). Simmer over low heat until most of the liquid evaporates but it is still juicy, Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To cook the cornmeal
- In an iron pot mix in, cornmeal, water, sugar, salt and olive oil. Let it rest for an hour (if possible).
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it comes to the boil lower the fire and continue stirring until it has the consistency of cream cheese and starts lifting from the pot. Remove from the heat.
- Heat oven to 300 ºF [145 ºC]. Grease a 9" x 9" x 3" [23 cm x 23 cm x 9cm] baking pan.
- Spread ½ of the cornmeal mixture in the baking pan,. Cover it with ½ of the cheese, then the meat. Spread the remaining cornmeal mixture and cover with the other half of the cheese. Bake until it turns golden brown.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with the tomato sauce and serve with green salad (baby arugula with an olive oil vinaigrette is perfect for this).
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutritional information.