Photo: Pastelles

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 20 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr 20 min
Cook: 30 min
 
YIELD: 24 pastelles
LEVEL: Difficult

ingredients

CORN DOUGH:
  • 1 pound precooked fine cornmeal, such as Promasa or PAN brands
  • 3/4 tablespoon blonde granulated coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
    FILLING:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 1 pound lean ground pork
    • 2 cups diced white onion
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced into a paste
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 10 Thai green chiles, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
    • 1 cup black raisins
    • 2/3 cup chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup chopped capers
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • Kosher salt
      ASSEMBLY:
      • 1 package banana leaves, cut into 12-inch lengths (about 24 pieces)
      • Vegetable oil
      • Aluminum foil, cut into 16-inch lengths (about 24 pieces)
      • 1 aluminum foil square about the size of the tortilla press
        AVOCADO CILANTRO ROOT PUREE:
        • 1 Hass avocado, skin removed and pitted
        • 1 lemon, juiced
        • 1 tablespoon cleaned and chopped cilantro root (white parts only)
        • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
        • Special Equipment: 8-inch pastelle/tortilla press
          recipe tools
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          Directions

          For the corn dough: Add the cornmeal, coconut sugar and sea salt to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Turn the stand mixer to a low speed and add 3 1/2 cups water followed by the melted butter. Once it starts to come together, turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap touching the dough and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Once the dough has rested, make 24 equal-size balls, approximately the size of an ice cream scoop. Place all on a tray and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out.

          For the filling: While the dough is resting, preheat a large rondeau pan to high heat. Add the vegetable oil and immediately add the ground meats. Saute until half-cooked, breaking up the meat as small as possible using a potato masher. Reduce the heat to medium-high, and then add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the dried herbs and chiles and saute for 1 minute. Add the olives, raisins, chicken stock, tomato paste, capers and Worcestershire, and simmer over medium heat until the liquid is almost fully reduced and the meat comes to a paste-like consistency. Season with salt and then allow to cool fully.

          For assembly: Cover your prep surface with several layers of newspaper (this can be a messy job). Using an 8-inch pastelle/tortilla press, place a piece of a 16-inch long aluminum foil strip on the bottom of the press and top with a banana leaf. Lightly coat the banana leaf with oil and place a dough ball on top, rolling the ball over the leaf to coat it in oil. Brush a square of aluminum foil liberally with some vegetable oil and place on top of the corn dough ball. Press the dough using the pastelle/tortilla press until it becomes a flat, round piece of dough. Set aside the top square of foil to reuse.

          Remove the bottom piece of aluminum foil, banana leaf and flattened dough to a flat surface and place approximately 2 heaping tablespoons of the cooled meat filling on half of the dough, starting from the center out towards the edge, making sure to leave about a 1/2-inch rim of dough around the edge. Fold the half-moon of uncovered dough over the meat using the banana leaf and aluminum foil and press the edges together. Fold into a rectangular package, by first rolling it then sealing the ends by folding with the banana leaf and foil. Repeat until all the packages are complete.

          Bring a large pot of water to the boil and place as many packages as you want in the water until fully cooked and heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the water with tongs and place on a tray to cool enough so you can handle it, approximately 2 minutes.

          For the avocado cilantro root puree: Put the avocado, lemon juice and cilantro root in a food processor and process until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and then transfer to a non-reactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

          Serve the pastelles hot with the avocado cilantro root puree.

          Notes

          Cook's Note: Place leftover pastelles in an airtight bag and place in the freezer. When you want a pastelle, boil in water from frozen until fully cooked and heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

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          5

          Newest Ratings and Reviews

          Read all 3 reviews

          • on November 21, 2013

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            Delicious! Worth the work

            people found this review Helpful.
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          • on November 07, 2013

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            I Loved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Them Soooooooooooooooo Much They Were super Good I love Roger Mooking's Recipe

            people found this review Helpful.
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          • on December 02, 2012

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            Love this recipe, it reminds me of Panamenian Tamales, they are basically made the same way. My Mom use to make this for the holidays and it was a long process because we used to have o grind the corn to make the masa and of course the same similar steps as Robert used i his Trinidad version. We Islanders or Caribbean people love to cook and to keep our traditions alive in the family. This year I will make traditional Panamenian dishes in memory of my Mom. Thank you Robert Mooking for remind me of that, I love cooking channel!!!!

            people found this review Helpful.
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