Last year, I saw this gentleman, Chef Grego, on Facebook, cooking his creation of the traditional Puerto Rican pasteles. However, instead of individual pasteles wrapped in banana leaves, he made one big pastel in a tray. That was genius. I was very impressed with the simplicity of his process and the outcome of his creation, since I have made pasteles the old fashion way and I can assure you that they are not easy and are time consuming to make. So, I decided to follow somewhat his recipe and process to make the hard traditional dish using his creative way; in a tray. Thanks Chef.
Approx. Prep and Cook Time: Recipe prep is divided in 3 days.
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Allergens, Other: Gluten Free
Servings: 8 to 10 servings per tray
PUERTO RICAN “PASTEL CASSEROLE” IN ALUMINUM TRAY
I actually spread out the preparation components over 3 days to make the prep easier.
Day #1: I Made the achiote oil. Then made the chicken broth and refrigerate.
Day #2: I Made the filling: I cooked the pork, allow it to cool and refrigerate.
Day #3: I Made the masa, assemble the pastel tray and baked it.
14-cup food processor, or a blender, or a box grater (I used a box grater this time to make them authentic, smile.
Vegetable peeler, parchment paper, banana leaves (2 small size to cover bottom of the tray and the top after filled and before it goes into the oven.)
Day #1: Achiote Oil (Can Be Made One-week Ahead)
1 to ½ c. olive oil.
½ c. achiote seeds. (find them in any Spanish/Latin- or Hispanic market)
Cook in a saucepan in med. low until the oil color intensifies for about 10 minutes.
For the Broth- (Use either chicken or beef broth. It can be made many days ahead)
Black peppercorns to taste, 5 cloves garlic peeled and smashed, 2 bay leaves and the meat or bones of choice. OR USE regular store bought beef or chicken broth.
Day #2: I made the pork filling: These are the ingredients for the pastel filling.
1 ½ to 2 lb. pork shoulder fully cleaned
1 cup sofrito separated
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sazón with Achiote
2 tsp. adobo plus more to taste
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 small can tomato sauce
10 + salad olives
2 tablespoon capers, drained
3 large bay leaves
½ c. jarred roasted red pepper sliced (optional)
½ c. chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained from the can and rinsed (optional)
Marinate the Pork (may be done up to 3 days ahead)
Cook the Pork Filling (can be done 1 day ahead)
Day #3: INGREDIENTS for the Masa (Green Banana Pastel
6 (very green cooking bananas)
2 yautías (malanga) fresh not frozen
½ small calabaza (pumpkin) fresh not frozen
¼ - to ½ c. achiote oil plus more for oiling the banana leaves
½ to ¾ c. beef or chicken broth
adobo to taste
Prepare the Root Vegetables for the Masa de Guineos
Fill a large bowl with 6 cups of hot tap water. Stir in 1/4 cup of salt into the water.
Make the Masa (The easy way, smile)
What do you Need to Assemble the Pastel in a Tray:
1 med size aluminum tray (and 1 larger, to add couple inches of water and place the pastel tray inside.)
2 pieces of prepared (fresh or frozen) banana leaves.
¼ c. achiote oil
1 batch masa de guineo (banana dough)
1 batch pork filling
How to assemble the Pastel in a Tray:
Serve your Tray Pastel as is, or with Pernil, Arroz con Gandules, and potato salad, or with a side salad.
To Freeze the Cooked Pork Filling or the Masa:
ABOUT THE Author
I am a blogger, a photographer, a jewelry designer, a gourmet cook, and a recipe book writer. I am also a flea market flipper, an avid gardener, an interior/ outdoors designer, an avid golfer and traveler.