Thursday, October 22, 2015

Corn Pie (Pastel de Choclo)

Pastel de Choclo is a classic and very popular dish of  South American cuisine.
It is made of Peruvian giant corn, also known as Choclo, an Andean corn with extra large kernels, almost 4 times bigger than the North American corn.
When I first heard about it, I thought the tale about the giant corn was slightly exagerated, but after visiting the local markets I was really impressed by its size and taste.
Corn is one of the most consumed foods in Peruvian cuisine and has been planted in this country for centuries.
According to Bernabe Cobo, a Sixteenth-century chronicler in the Inca Empier one could find corn ein every color under the sun from pale yellow to red, dark purple and black.
Still today there are almost 55 varieties of corn grown by local farmers.
Local cuisine offers a huge choice of dishes based on corn such as the Pastel de Choclo  , which we are going to prepare today., Peppian (a stew based on grated corn kernels mixed with onions, garlic, chili and a touch of fresh coriander., sweets like Humitas ( corn mashed pastries wrapped and steamed in corn husks) or the wonderful refreshing Chicha Morada, a drink made of purple corn. 
 The Amazing Purple Corn

Pastel de Choclo is a creamy, delicatley flavored dish with a wonderful combination of textures and savors.
There is as well a vegetarin version, filled with cheese instead of meat and it tastes fanatstic too.
Pastel de choclo  is easy to cook and can be prepared in advance, making it a crowd pleasing and ideal party food.

You need:
 4 cups of fresh white corn kernels
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup of soft butter
1 spoonful sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the filling:
1/2 kg ground meat (beef)
1 1/2 spoonful olive oil
1 cup tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon yellow chili paste (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup black olives, stoned and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F
Blend corn kernels in a foodprocessor or blender together with the milk and soft butter.

 Add sugar, chilies and egg yolks.

 Season with salt and pepper.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks are formed, then fold carefully into the corn mixture.

 Aside, heat olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute onions and garlic until traslucent.

Add beef, chopped tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

 Then incorporate hard boiled eggs, raisins and oilves.


Grease a rectangular Pyrex and pour half the corn mixture into the pan.
 top with the meat mixture, then pour over it the remining half of the corn mixture.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

 Serves about 6-8 P.
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