My friend, Lulu, is very brave and a talented young woman. She has asked a while back that I do a Piñón post. You see Lulu fell in love and picked up her bags and moved from New York City to Kenya. Hopefully, when she sets her wedding date, I will be flying out to see her. So here goes Lulu…this one’s for you!
This is a classic dish from Puerto Rico and the best way to describe it is by calling it a lasagna because of its layers.
Instead of using lasagna noodles, we use fried sweet plantains. The meat is spiced ground beef or as we call it picadillo. Picadillo came to us via Cuba and we have adopted it because of its versatility. I usually make a batch and divide it. One part to make our famous empanadas or meat patties by adding other ingredients to the meat. As time goes by I will show you the wonders of picadillo.
I made this dish a while back and I found it so hard to photograph and now this time I had the same problem.
4 cups of picadillo
6 ripe plantains, peeled and cut (depending mold you are using)
vegetable oil for frying plantains
6 eggs beaten and set aside
1- 2 cans of french style string beans
Adapted from Wilo Benet recipe
4 lbs. ground beef (sirloin)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seed and white ribbing removed
1/2 cup of sofrito or more to taste
1 envelopes of Sazón Goya
1-1/2 cups Spanish tomato sauce
6 cloves of garlic, pound to paste
kosher salt/pepper to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the onions cooking them until they are soft and translucent. Add the pepper, garlic and sofrito and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper for another few minutes. Add meat breaking up the meat as it cooks. Continue cooking until meat is done and liquid has evaporated..not dry. You will need a little moisture.
Heat oil, add the sliced plantains and cook until golden. Drain n paper towels and set aside.
Pour half of the beaten eggs on a greased mold. Start to layer the plantains to cover bottom of mold. Put a layer of the meat and the a layer of the string beans. Continue layering until last layer is the plantain. Pour the rest of beaten egg over plantain layer and prick with fork to be absorbed and not sitting on top. You do not want t to look like an omlet…you want the shine of the egg.
Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Place mold in oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes until egg has cooked and meat is heated through. The surface of the piñón should be golden and springy to the touch. Here are two versions.
Invert, slice and serve.
Wait until you taste this. You have the sweetness of the plantain and the saltiness of the meat….