Piñon: Sweet and Savory Puerto Rican Lasagna

February 25, 2015

Piñon, Puerto Rico’s version of lasagna (or lasagne), is a sweet and savory layered dish of seasoned ground beef and sliced plantains (a starchy banana-like fruit).  A similar dish, known as pastelón, uses mashed plantains instead of fried slices. Whether you mash or slice, this is one delicious casserole that beautifully marries the sweetness of ripe plantains with an aromatic beef filling. 

Piñon: Sweet and Savory Puerto Rican Lasagna
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

1  lb lean ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons Adobo seasoning
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins
1 15-ounce can organic tomato sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 ripe plantains, cut horizontally into long slices
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend 
2 eggs, beaten

Heat oven to 350°F.

Spray the bottom and sides of 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix beef, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, oregano, Adobo seasoning, and vinegar until well combined.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture and cook until browned. Stir in raisins and tomato sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.

Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels and heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add several plantain slices and cook until golden brown on each side. Transfer plantains to paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess oil. Continue until all the plantains are browned. Cool slightly. Press plantains down slightly to flatten slices.

To assemble lasagna, arrange layer of plantains in baking dish. Top with half of the beef mixture, then top with half of the cheese. Continue layering, starting with plantains and ending with cheese. Pour beaten eggs evenly over top.

Bake about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Cool about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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