Plantains are a staple ingredient in the Dominican Republic.

There’s many dishes that derive from this sweet starchy fruit, one of those being Pastelón.

The dish consists of a creamy layer of mashed plátano maduro, also known as sweet plantain, a flavorful layer of ground beef and cheese.

The rich nutrients found in plantains make this dish a fulfilling meal that can be served for lunch or dinner. It is also one of the most popular plantain dishes in the Dominican Republic.

Plantains have been around since 327 B.C. and actually originated in Asia.

It is often times compared to Italian lasagna, as the method of layering is the same and many people even refer to the dish as Dominican lasagna. This term was originally given to the Puerto Rican version of Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna), which was originally written in 1948 in a Puerto Rican cookbook.

Some people claim that the original dish was created when Italians and Puerto Ricans came into contact in New York City because of this similarity.

However, the original version is slightly different as the plantain is not mashed prior to baking and layering the casserole like in this recipe.

If you want to learn how to make Dominican Pastelón for yourself, follow the steps below!

Recipe

For filling
  1. Heat oil over medium-low heat. Stir in onion and cook and stir until it turns translucent. Add garlic and cook stirring for a minute.
  2. Add minced meat and cook and stir, breaking into small clumps until it browns.
  3. Pour in tomato sauce, add bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir and cover. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste if needed. Remove from the heat.
To assemble
  1. Peel the plantains and boil adding 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Once the plantains are fork tender (15 – 20 mins), remove from the heat.
  2. Take the plantains out of the water right away, and mash them.
  3. Add the butter and keep mashing until it is very smooth with no lumps.
  4. Grease a 1-inch tall baking pan. Put half of the plantains mixture in the baking pan. Cover with half of the cheese.
  5. Cover the cheese with the meat. Cover with the remaining plantain mixture. Cover with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Cook in preheated oven to 350 °F [175 °C] until the top is golden brown.
  7. Let cool for five minutes and serve.
  8. Top with cilantro (optional)

Ingredients

For filling
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For assembly
  • 6 plantains, ripe
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp salt

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