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Trinidad Pastelles

2 cups cornmeal
4 oz. margarine
3 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. granulated sugar
6 cups boiling water
2 to 3 lg. banana leaves (Aluminum foil may be used as a substitute but the flavour will not be as rich)
2 lb. lean minced beef
6 red and green chilli peppers, cut into sm. pieces
1 clove grated garlic
3 onions, minced
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. capers
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, stems removed leaves crushed
2 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. basil
12 olives, finely chopped
1 cup stock


Put corn into a mixing bowl, add chopped margarine, oil, salt and sugar. Pour boiling water over and quickly blend, using a round edge kinfe. As soon as mixture is cool enough knead with hands. Test between fingers mixture must be smooth not sticky. Roll into 12 small balls. Cover with a very damp kitchen towel. Filling: Heat oil, add garlic. When pale brown remove garlic. Add meat and saute until light brown. Add minced onoins, Worcestershire sauce. Simmer on low heat for five minutes. Add herbs olives, capers, raisins, chilli peppers and simmer on low heat until meat is tender and flavour is developed. Filling should be tender and moist. Add salt to taste if needed. Assembly: Prepare the bannana leaves the day before. Wash them dry them and wilt over an open flame or boiling water. Cut into squares about 12x12-inches. Oil leaf or foil before putting on the corn. Spread a ball of corn on the leaf, pat down. Place a square of wet muslin, another oiled leaf or thin sheet of plastic over corn and roll out very thinly using a rolling pin or pastelle press. Put a table spoon of meat filling in the center. Fold half the leaf over, bring in with it the corn spread. Bring in the other half of corn to cover. Now fold leaf to make a rectangular parcel. Tie with string and steam for 45 minutes or boil for 30 minutes. Drain and place on a flat surface. Serve immediately or store in freezer. (When pastelles are cold they remain in whatever shape they were put)

Source: www.foodgeeks.com