Ripe Plantain Lasagna or Meat Pie

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Latin American Paleo Cooking Over 80 Traditional Recipes Made Grain and Gluten FreePiñon and pastelón are two variations of a similar casserole made with ripe plantains and ground beef. Depending on where in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic you are, the names can be used interchangeably or even reversed. It can be confusing. One features ripe plantains cut into strips, fried and layered like lasagna. The other features mashed ripe plantains turned into a pie crust. In Milagros’s family, they call the plantain lasagna version pastelón, but other Puerto Ricans call it piñon. Either way, they are both delicious and perfect for feeding a crowd. The lasagna version is not AIP-friendly but the crust version is!

  • Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients

For Plantain Lasagna
  • 6 ripe plantains
  • ¼ cup (56 g) lard, coconut oil or avocado oil for frying, plus more as needed
  • 1½ lb (680 g) ground beef
  • 4 tbsp (55 g) Sofrito
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1½ tsp (3 g) dried oregano
  • 2¼ tsp (11 g) fine Himalayan salt, divided
  • 2 tbsp (13 g) sliced green olives
  • 2 tsp (6 g) drained capers
  • 1 lime juice
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
Adjustments for The Plantain Crust Version
  • ¼ cup (30 g) sifted cassava flour
  • ¼ cup (60 g) lard or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp (6 g) fine Himalayan salt
How to Make It
  1. Prepare the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. To peel ripe plantains, first slice off both tips with a knife, then cut a slit in the skin down the length of the plantain. Lift off the peel with your fingers. Cut each plantain lengthwise into strips about ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick. Aim for getting 5 slices per plantain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium heat until shimmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully arrange the plantain slices in a single layer in the skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate, cooking the remaining plantains in batches until all the strips are cooked. Try to keep them whole, but it’s okay if some of them break apart during cooking.
  4. Meanwhile, in a second large skillet, you can cook the meat filling while the plantains are frying. Place the ground beef and sofrito in the pan and cook over medium heat until the meat is about three-quarters of the way browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the meat is fully browned, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the oregano, 1½ teaspoons (9 g) of the salt and the olives, capers and lime juice. Lower the heat to low and cook until the plantain slices in the other pan are all cooked.
  5. To assemble the lasagna, grease a large baking dish (9 x 13 inches [23 x 33 cm], at least 2 inches [5 cm] deep). Beat the eggs and the remaining ¾ teaspoon of salt with a whisk and pour half of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the fried plantain slices in a single layer across the bottom of the dish, using whole strips if possible. Save any broken strips for the middle layer. You should need 9 to 10 strips per layer. Next, add half of the ground meat mixture and spread evenly. Add another layer of plantains (using up any broken strips), then the remaining meat mixture, and finish it off with the top layer of plantain, using whole slices if possible for presentation. Pour the remaining beaten egg mixture evenly on top of the casserole.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the egg is set and top of the casserole is golden brown. Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving. Divide into 8 square servings and enjoy!
  7. For the crust version, after peeling the plantains, place them in a pot and cover with water. Boil until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and mash with the cassava flour, fat of choice and the salt. Grease a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish and spread about half of the plantain mash across the bottom and up the sides. Fill with the meat mixture, then cover with the remaining plantain mash (you can roll the remaining mash into small balls and flatten between your hands, arranging these pieces side by side, then smoothing the seams together with your fingers).
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F (180°C) and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
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