I have been meaning to make this for months now. Since I first had it in my Chilean cooking class back in December, I have wanted to try making it at home. And then I kept not doing it. But this week I finally got around to it. Pastel de Choclo is basically a Chilean shepherd’s pie, with a sweet corn topping rather than mashed potatoes. And it is freaking delicious.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant, chopped
2-3 teaspoons paprika (adjust to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin (adjust to taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons rasins
2-3 ounces crumbled feta
Saute the onion and garlic for a couple minutes in some olive oil, then add the eggplant, paprika and cumin. Saute, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft and cooked, 10 minutes or so. Add the sugar, and then taste and adjust the spices as you see fit. Set aside while you make the topping.
3 ears of corn, kernels removed and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
2-3 tsp sugar
Chopped fresh basil or dried basil
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the corn, and basil, and sugar and then slowly add in the milk, stirring frequently. Once all the milk is added, cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens (aka corn and milk sorta combine into a mush). It’ll take awhile – at least 10 minutes. Stir consistently so the bottom doesn’t burn.
In a medium, greased casserole dish, place the eggplant mixture. The add a layer of feta and raisins. Then spoon the corn mush so it forms an even top layer. Sprinkle the top with sugar, and bake at 400 until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm.
So. Freaking. Good. I was worried since I wasn’t really involved in making it that it wouldn’t taste the way I remember, but it turned out awesome. I upped the spices a little to counteract the sweet corn, but it works so well with the feta. I can’t wait to make this again. My only issue with it was that I ate a little too much of it each time I had it. Oh well, there are worst things than a recipe being too good to keep to smallish portions. Naturally, I served this with Chilean wine – a really solid Sauvignon blanc. Song of the Week: PMJ’s version of Dancing in the Dark. Confession time: I hate Bruce Springsteen. I sporadically try again, but it’s like “nope.” However, Postmodern Jukebox is awesome and so I’m completely obsessed with their 50s version of it this week.
I am so so sorry for my prolonged absence from this blog. Life got away from me. First it was getting ready for Thanksgiving, and then visiting relatives and then getting ready for my trip to South America! Which is where I am now – specifically I’m in the city of Valparaiso in Chile. However, this means some extra fun posts will make up for my absence. Yesterday, for example, I was able to take a Chilean cooking class! There were too many dishes for us all to be involved in all of them – we made pembre (salsa), ceviche (which I didn’t have), pisco sours, avocados stuffed with hearts of palm salad, empanadas, Pastel de choclo, and chilean flan. Unfortunately, the chef hasn’t emailed me the recipes yet, and what we cooked was not overly precise, but I can give you a decent overview of pembre, which is basically salsa, and the stuffed avocado.
4 large tomatoes
2 small onions
2 cloves garlic
1 large but mild pepper (I think Anaheim is the best US equivalent)
Cilantro (1/4 cup finely chopped)
Mince – and I seriously mean mince – the onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper and cilantro. You are also supposed to peel the tomatoes, but quite frankly that seems like too much work and quite unnecessary. Mix all of them together thoroughly. It should look like pico de gallo, but not chunky. Add 2-3 teaspoons salt, some lemon juice (I want to say 1/4 cup) and like 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix and serve. We had this on bread and as a condiment for the other dishes but I’m sure it would taste great on tortilla chips
1 cup pembre (before you add the oil and lemon juice)
2 pieces of heart of palm
Dice the heart of palm and mix it with the pembre. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Fill the cavity with the mixture and add a little to the plate and serve.
Like many cuisines, neither of these were difficult to make, so much as rather time-consuming. All of the dishes I had, particularly the pastel de choclo, were delicious, and the class, just called Chilean Cooking Class (thank you Lonely Planet) was extremely fun. Song of the Week: Ridin’ Solo/Dil Se Re by Dhamakapella. Apparently Penn Masala isn’t the only acapella group to mix bollywood and pop songs, and I’ve been loving this mashup as of late – something about it just speaks to my travelling around the world solo and feeling awesome about it.