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Pastelon de Carne

<em>Pastelon de Carne</em> Related:   Europe, gluten-free, Hanukkah, kid-friendly, Latin America, meat, Shabbat, Thanksgiving, vegetables & legumes

Prep time: 20-30 mins

Cook time: 40 mins

Yield: 4-6 servings

This recipe originally appeared in the Edible DC Early Winter/Holiday 2014 issue and is reprinted with permission.

The latest addition to our holiday repertoire is pastelon de carne, a Puerto Rican lasagna, if you will: layers of pan-fried plantains, seasoned ground beef and French-cut green beans held together with egg. Myer, our three-year-old son, is often tasked with scattering green beans and pouring the egg. From “Putting the Melting Pot on the Holiday Table.”

Ingredients

  • 6 very ripe yellow plantains (the skins will be almost all black)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1½ pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo all-purpose seasoning, such as Goya
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag French-cut green beans, defrosted, or 2 cups fresh, lightly blanched
  • 3 eggs, whisked

Preparation

  • Slice plantains lengthwise into 4 strips each so you end up with 24 long slices. Pour 1 tablespoon oil into a large cast-iron skillet and brown plantain slices, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Repeat as necessary.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While plantains brown, pour 1 tablespoon oil into another skillet. Stir and cook sweet peppers and onions until softened. Add ground beef and break it up with a spatula. Add adobo seasoning and tomato paste and stir to mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Turn off the heat and drain liquid.
  • Grease an 8-inch square pan. Assemble the pastelon: Start with a layer of plantains, then the meat mixture, then green beans. Repeat. You want to end with plantains. Pour eggs evenly over pastelon (this will hold it together when sliced) and let it soak through. Bake for 40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

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