CHILEAN PASTEL DE CHOCLO

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Pastel de Choclo is the quintessential traditional food of Chile. If you ask to be served a classical Chilean food this is what you will be receive. It is delicious. It is made in a well cured pottery bowl, but since those are hard to come by here in the US it can be made in any dish. I have made in a 9 x13 as well as individuals in ramekins or soup bowls that are oven safe. It comes in many variations and I'll list some for you below.

Ingredients

1/4 cup Ingredients
 2 to 3 Tbs Oil
1 finely chopped onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1  lb ground beef (low fat works best)
1 Tbs paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs flour
8 ears of corn or enough to make 1 lb of pureed corn
1/4 cup corn meal
1-2 Tbs corn starch
Milk as needed
1 Tbs sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Butter
2-3 Tbs Sugar
1/4 cup white raisins
whole black olives one per serving.
Sliced hard boiled eggs, you need to have at least one slice per serving.

1 chicken thigh per serving cooked

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Sauté He the onions over medium heat until translucent. Stir in the garlic and continue sauteing for 1-2 min.  Add the ground beef, paprika, cumin, oregano, raisins salt and pepper breaking up the meat, until the beef is just cooked through, 6-8 minutes.

Have a chicken thigh bone in or boneless works, precooked and warm.


Pour chicken stock into the pan with the beef mix and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle flour over all and stir in well. Simmer for another 5-8 minutes until lightly thickened. Adjust seasoning, remove from heat and set aside.
Place the corn, cornmeal, cornstarch and sugar in a food processor or blender and process until well pureed.  With the blade running, add the milk a little at a time until the corn forms a thick batter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the corn puree and cook, stirring constantly, until well thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
Spread the beef mixture in a greased  baking dish of your choice.  Add a chicken thigh to each individual portion. Add a black olive and egg slice per portion. Top with the cooked corn puree and spread out evenly over the dish. Sprinkle the sugar over the corn topping.
Set the dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
Variations
Leave out chicken thighs
Leave out eggs
Leave out olives
Leave out any combination or all of the above.

Add more sugar to the top up to an extra 1/4 cup. Chileans have a real sweet tooth.

Notes
The meat filling for this recipe minus the raisins is called pino and is also used to fill the famous Chilean empanadas.
The corn (choclo) used for this dish in South America is more mature and starchier than that found in the United States. That is why this recipe calls for cornmeal and cornstarch. If you can find South American-style corn 

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