Recipe courtesy of Robert Springs and Anny Francisco
Pastelon is special to Robert and Anny since it’s the recipe that Anny made for their wedding day. She describes it as being similar to lasagna, only with layers of meat, cheese and mashed plantains. It’s a crowd-pleaser and great for any celebration.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Ease of preparation: Easy
SOFRITO (GREEN MAGIC):
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 to 20 very ripe plantains, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
- 1 to 2 tablespoons browning and seasoning sauce
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Sazon seasoning
- 1 chicken bouillon cube, broken into pieces
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 to 1 cup sofrito (above)
- 3 cups mixed grated Cheddar and mozzarella
For the sofrito: Add the onion to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the garlic (to taste), bell pepper and cilantro and season with salt. Blend until finely chopped. Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the sofrito for the pastelon and save the remaining for another use (see Cook’s Note).
For the pastelon: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the butter.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the plantains, reduce to a simmer and cook until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes (depending on ripeness). Drain and carefully mash with 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season with salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the oregano and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 30 seconds. Remove to a bowl to cool.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the ground turkey to the saute pan. Cook the turkey, stirring occasionally, until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the toasted oregano, browning and seasoning sauce, Sazon and chicken bouillon cube and season with salt. Cook, stirring, until well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.
Remove the turkey mixture to a bowl. Add the sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the turkey mixture to the pan and stir to combine. Add the sofrito and cook, stirring, until tender and fragrant but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Layer one-third of the mashed plantains in the prepared baking dish, then top with the meat mixture, another one-third of the mashed plantains, half of the Cheddar and mozzarella, a final layer of plantains and the remaining cheese.
Bake until bubbly and the cheese is melted and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Cook’s Note: The remaining sofrito will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use it to season soups, stews, black beans and even rice, or rub it onto chicken or fish before roasting or grilling.
Note: A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.