This beautiful Puerto Rican/Cuban concoction we fondly call Pastelón de Plátano Maduro aka Piñón is a warm, comforting meal that you will be sure to enjoy. Pastelón de Plátano Maduro or Piñón consists of layers of delicious Picadillo, sweet ripened fried plantains, and cheesy goodness that will leave you wanting more.
Pastelón de Plátano Maduro (Puerto Rican name) or Piñón as named by Cuban cooks is what many people consider to be a Puerto Rican or Cuban Lasagna because of the layers. I have to say to me it reminds me more of a Spanish Shepherds Pie when it is made with mashed plantains– Dominicans and some Cuban cooks mash the plantains for the layers, I do not mash my plantains. I prefer them sliced thinly and layered with all the goodies.
What is Picadillo, you wonder? Cuban Picadillo is a ground beef mixture with peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, tomato, olives, and on occasion, raisins, potatoes, wine, and capers. Puerto Rican Picadillo usually contains ground meat that is sautéed with annatto oil, ham, thyme, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, recaito, tomato sauce, and sometimes raisin (soaked in rum), olives, capers, and potatoes.
Below you will find our complete recipe for Picadillo, sofrito seasoning and the easy to follow step by step instructions to make Pastelón de Plátano Maduro -aka Piñón. All ingredients are easily found in most Spanish sections of your favorite local grocery store.
What are plantains? Plantains are a part of the banana family and look similar in appearance; however, compared to bananas, plantains are far starchier and contain less sugar. Plantains can be included in many recipes or eaten raw.
Tips for ripening Plantain:
- Choose the right area to ripen the plantains.
- Plantains will ripen best in a well-ventilated warm place. If the kitchen is very chilly or stuffy, try to find another area in your house to ripen them.
- Plantains can and will ripen in colder environments. It just may take a little longer.
- Plantains will ripen fastest if they’re not disturbed.
- It should take about 7 to 10 days for a plantain to ripen. In a warmer environment, you can expect plantains to mature a little faster.
- A plantain is ripe when it’s black and wrinkled in appearance and soft to the touch.
- If you need the plantains to ripen quicker, you can store them in a paper bag. You do not need to close the bag all the way. Close the bag loosely.
- Plantains are best left unrefrigerated. This is especially true if they have not yet ripened. Refrain from refrigerating plantains until they’re at your desired stage of ripeness
- 4 Ripe plantains The skins should be black, sliced longwise and halved
- 2 pounds Lean ground beef
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground achiote
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 Black pepper
- 1/4 cup Chopped Spanish onions
- 1/4 cup Chopped green peppers
- 1/4 cup Chopped red pepper
- 1/2 cup Diced tomatoes
- 12 Green olives optional
- 1 tablespoon Minced garlic
- 1/8 cup Sofrito recipe below
- 1 1/2 cup Freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 large egg slightly beaten
- 1 Red freshly roasted red pepper
- 1 small Onion roasted
- 3 Minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 12 Chopped culantro leaves
- 1 cup Chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon Fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- juice of 1 lime
In a large food processor place all ingredients and process until smooth.
Once done set to the side for later use in the Pastelón de Plátano Maduro.
Extra Sofrito may be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later use in other recipes.
Heat enough olive oil in a large skillet so that the oil is about 1/4 of an inch deep, the oil should be hot. Peel the black skin from the plantain and slice longwise and halved (about ½ inch thick) add the plantain slices and cook until the bottom is a golden honey color. Turn over each slice and cook until both sides are evenly golden. Remove from oil and transfer to paper towels to drain; pat off any excess oil. Set to the side for later use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large skillet on medium heat, place lean ground beef, add achiote, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, let cook for about 5 minutes and start breaking meat up a little with spatula, add chopped Spanish onions, chopped green peppers, chopped, red peppers, let cook for 3-5 minutes breaking meat up further with a spatula.
Once meat is completely broken up add diced tomatoes, minced garlic, sofrito, green olives (optional), sofrito, and cook another 5-6 minutes on low heat. If you have a lot of excess juice in your pan, drain quickly in a colander (You do not want the meat completely dry so do not leave in a colander for over 1 minute
Lightly oil a 9×13 glass oven-safe casserole dish, place 1/2 of ground beef mixture evenly in the bottom, place 1/3 of plantain slices on top, 1/2 cup of cheese. Begin another layer of remaining ground beef, another 1/3 of plantain slices. Whisk eggs and evenly pour evenly on top of the casserole, add remaining 1 cup of cheese, place the last remaining 1/3 of plantain slices on the very top of casserole.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in middle of oven until hot throughout and bubbly around edges, about 30 minutes. Cool for 8- 10 minutes before serving.
Pastelón de Plátano Maduro - Piñón pictured above is a more dry version of the recipe so that you may see the ingredients, it normally has a bit more of a juicy look and feel with a ton of cheese on top, for photo and viewing reasons it has been slightly altered for your viewing pleasure. If you would like to have yours turn out as above picture simply drain meat longer and omit 1/2 cup of cheese to the last layer.
Disclosure: My Pastelón de Plátano Maduro – Piñón pictured above is a more dry version of the recipe so that you may see the ingredients, it normally has a bit more of a juicy look and feel with a ton of cheese on top, for photo and viewing reasons it has been slightly altered for your viewing pleasure. If you would like to have yours turn out as above picture simply drain meat longer and omit 1/2 cup of cheese to the last layer.
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