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Shared by Vivian Wecselman-Fishman

Pastel de Choclo (South American Corn and Beef Casserole)

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 H + 2 H inactive

Shared by Vivian Wecselman-Fishman

Pastel de Choclo on a plate next to a glass of red wine.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Pastel de Choclo (South American Corn and Beef Casserole)

Yield: 6-8 servingsTime: 1 H + 2 H inactive

Family Journey

Bucharest, RomaniaTel AvivLima, Peru
MontrealScarsdale, NY

Vivian Wecselman-Fishman’s mother Etienne used to make this South American casserole of beef layered with spiced cornbread for Shabbat dinners when they lived in Lima. 

Try Vivian’s recipes for tacu-tacu (Peruvian lima bean cakes) and ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken curry) and read more about her family in “Shabbat Dinner by Way of Romania and Peru.”

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Peruvian choclo or 6 ears of yellow corn
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped and separated
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cup half-and-half milk, or ½ cup non-dairy creamer 
  • ½ cup unsalted butter or non-dairy butter, separated
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (if one using yellow corn, you can skip the sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Main CoursesMeat South and Central America

Preparation

  • Step 1

    If you are using dried Peruvian choclo, place the kernels in a bowl with water and soak for at least 1 hour. Drain completely and pulse in a food processor into a grainy flour. If using American corn, simply remove the kernels from the cob and blend.

  • Step 2

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Step 3

    Prepare the beef filling: Pour 3 tablespoons vegetable oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the red onion and saute until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add one clove of chopped garlic and continue to cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Add the beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper to the skillet. Add ¼ teaspoon of aji, if using. Continue cooking, stirring often, for another 5 minutes until the beef is cooked through. Set aside to cool.

  • Step 4

    Prepare the corn mixture: Add the butter or non-dairy butter (reserving 1 ½ tablespoons) into a deep skillet. Heat over medium and add in the yellow onion. Saute the onion and add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon aji, if using. Pour the blended corn into the skillet and add the half-and-half or non-dairy creamer. (If using American corn, start by pouring in just ½ cup of liquid at a time, stopping when the mixture becomes creamy and thick.) Cook for 4 minutes on a low heat, then set aside.

  • Step 5

    Assemble the casserole: Grease a 12x8 inch baking dish. Pour half of the corn mixture evenly into the dish. Spread the entirety of the beef filling atop the mixture, and then cover it with the rest of the corn mixture.

  • Step 6

    Slice the remaining butter or non-dairy butter and scatter over the casserole. Bake for 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes, until the top has become golden brown.

  • Step 7

    Serve warm with a side of aji amarillo.