Well. Looks like I’m still here. No rapture for me. BUT I did make sure I went out and partied it up, rapture style. Rapture sounds kinda like Raptor. What’s better….a raptor party or a rapture party?
Sorry about that. I get distracted easily..
So, my tooth has improved 100 percent. I still gotta get surgery next Friday, but it’s great to able to eat real things. To celebrate, I took a crack at making Pastel de Choclo.
This recipe was a little high maintenance. The ingredients were all easy to find, and not very expensive, but there were a lot of steps involved. I get the feeling this is the sort of thing you make if you already happen to have some of this stuff pre-made lying around, but who knows.
I blatantly stole this recipe off the Food Network website. I was surprised to find very few English recipes for this dish on most of the major websites. Seems Chilean food is unexplored territory for mainstream America on the whole. There’s probably good reason for that; Chilean food isn’t exactly….um…I dunno. Special. It’s delicious, there are unique flavors, and definitely some special dishes, but it still ain’t no Italian food.
However, I found this dish really satisfying. The combination of the savory, spicy chicken, briny olives, and sweet, fluffy corn is unique and distinctly Chilean. I adapted this recipe a bit according to my whim, and definitely would do a few things different next time. The recipe called for 5 cups of chicken stock, then never said when to add it??? Anyway, it all worked out.
Pastel de Choclo
1 bag (about 3-4 cups) of frozen corn (or fresh kernals)
2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of kalamata olives (pitted)
1/2 cup of raisins
3-4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup of milk
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of sugar
a pinch of powdered sugar
fresh basil, chopped
Start with poaching the chicken and making the hard boiled eggs. I’d actually recommend you do this the day before to save time if possible.
Before you start, set up all your ingredients, chopped, and ready to go. This will make it much more for too cook.
Heat up the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions with the oregano, paprika, and cumin until translucent. Then add chicken and stir until savory. Once the mixture is nice and fragrant, add it to the bottom of a casserole dish, or if you have it, a round, heavy pan. The best would be a paila (an earthenware dish) but beggars cant be choosers and a casserole dish is all I had.
Next, make the corn mixture. If you have fresh kernals, grate the corn with a grater. If you have frozen corn (like I did) use a food processor and grind the corn until it is like a corn paste. Next, melt the butter in a deep pan on medium high heat, and add the corn, salt, sugar, and milk. Stir the mixture until it is nice and thick. Add fresh basil.
[I had some issues with this step. My mixture just would not thicken. I finally had to add some flour to get it right….anyone know what happened? Do I need cornstarch?]
Now the fun part. Arranged sliced egg, olive, and raisins on the chicken, and then pour the corn mixture on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the top is nice and browned.
I think this recipe would be fabulous served in individual pots with a nice ensalada chilena (tomatoes, onion, and vinegar) or a fresh green salad.