The Best South American Plantain "Lasagna"

By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

Pastelón or Torta de Plátano Pastelón or Torta de Plátano

My Venezuelan friends are constantly bragging about their traditional food and how it's better than that of my hometown.Venezuela and Colombia share a number of similar dishes but with different names. For instance, they call passion fruit juice jugo de parchita, and we call it jugo de maracuyá. A beef stew with the same ingredients is called asado negro in Venezuela, and in Colombia we call it carne en posta. But the ultimate name change is what happened to a recipe featuring baked plantain and ground beef: we call it torta de plátano, and they call it pastelón.

Pastelón or Torta de Plátano Pastelón or Torta de Plátano

While Venezuelans claim their plantain dish is better, I had to prove them wrong by making a Colombian version. Hey, nothing like a little sibling rivalry, right? Whether you decide to go the Venezuelan or Colombian route, it's a must try dish, especially during the holidays.

Espero que les guste...

(4 servings)
8 tbsp. canola oil
½ onion, chopped
½ lb. ground beef
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon all-purpose seasoning Pastelón or Torta de PlátanoPastelón or Torta de Plátano
3 ripe plantains
2 eggs, beaten

Start this meal with my abuela's bean soup


Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

Preheat a pan at medium heat, and add 4 tablespoons of the canola oil. Add the onions, and cook until translucent. Add the ground beef, salt and all-purpose seasoning. Cook the mix, stirring it with a wooden spoon to separate the meat.

Cook for 18 minutes, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Pastelón or Torta de Plátano Pastelón or Torta de Plátano

Slice the plantains lengthwise. Preheat a skillet at medium heat. Pan fry the plantains for 3 minutes on each side. When the plantains are a light golden color, remove them from the pan and let them drain on paper towels. Then, take the plantain slices and dip each one in the beaten egg. Make a layer of egg-dipped plantains in a baking pan. Then, add a layer of the cooked meat mix on top. Repeat the process three times, finishing with a layer of plantains. Bake the pastelon for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut in "lasagna"-type squares and serve.

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