Chilean Comfort Food

We have all been eating fresh corn for several weeks now, and relishing every moment, knowing how brief is the corn season. But since corn is on sale this week at No Frills for $1.56/dozen, this is a good time to do something beyond corn-on-the-cob.
A classic corn dish in Chile is called Pastel de Choclo, or corn pie. (Choclo is a local native term for corn). It is a basic peasant dish, similar to shepherd’s pie, consisting of stewed meat meat on the bottom with a corn and basil topping. The sweet corn topping turns brown and chewy as it roasts, while the meat filling has a wonderful mix of flavours. Delicious!

Yield: 1 (9x9m) pan

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Servings: 3-4 people


For The Meat
1 lbs ground beef, 85-90% lean
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt

For The Corn “Crust”
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 c (roughly 1 1/2 lbs) sweet corn, thawed if frozen
1/2 c milk
2 Tbsp cornmeal
2 tsp fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt

Putting it Together

1/2 c black olives (canned or Greek, to taste). 1/4 c raisins
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
Granulated sugar (to top)

Preheat your oven to 350F.

For The Meat
In a large skillet, saute the beef with the onions over medium high heat, until the meat is browned, 10 min.
Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and salt. Mix well. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until most of the juices have reduced. Remove from the heat.

For The Corn “Crust”
Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
Working in batches as your blender allows, place the corn, milk, cornmeal, basil, and salt into the blender and pulse until the corn is pureed, but not smooth. Pour the pureed corn mixture into the pot with the melted butter.
Bring the corn puree mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. After 5 minutes, remove the corn from heat.

Putting It All Together
Cover the bottom of a greased 9×9 baking dish with a thin layer of the corn mixture.
Top the corn with all of the beef mixture.
Then, evenly distribute the black olives, raisins, and eggs over the beef.
Spoon the remaining corn mixture over top.
Lightly sprinkle granulated sugar over the corn.
Bake the dish for 30 minutes, until bubbly around the edges. Then, turn the heat to broil, and broil until top is golden brown.
Remove the dish from the oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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