I love foods from around the world so I like to choose a country and make something that is native to that land. I was raised eating lots of “soul food” as well as the traditional Spanish/Puerto Rican foods and crave them often. Although my eating habits have changed over the years I still crave the foods I ate as a child and so I continue to make them today but with a MyCo twist. I always use only natural and organic ingredients and when the dish calls for something I am unable to get in a natural or organic form then I substitute it with something that is. I am also not a vegan or vegetarian, however since I don’t like to eat meat that often I am always looking for ways to make the dishes I use to eat but omit the meat and replace it with something else. A perfect Spanish style meal, I absolutely love is pastellitos with rice and beans. Accompany that with a side of plantains and I am a happy lady 🙂
Traditionally, pastellitos as I know them are made with beef in the form hamburger meat; although I do like them in their traditional form one day I was craving some but didn’t feel like eating meat so I made a vegan/vegetarian version. I will share with you my recipe and provide ingredients for both versions so you can make them both depending on what you feel like eating. I must warn you however, that when I’m not baking I don’t usually measure, I just do it by the way that I was taught and so I will do my best to provide accurate measurements but you really can’t go wrong with this recipe anyway 🙂
2 c. Flour
1/4 c. Water
Butter or Oil (I use homemade butter but my man uses sunflower oil when he makes them and they come out a little crunchier which I like)
(1)16oz can Tomato sauce or (1) 8oz can plus 8oz water or broth
1 med Yellow or Red Onion chopped
1 med Bell Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange or any mixture of)
3-4 cloves Garlic more or less depending on your taste
10 or so Spanish olives chopped (optional but great addition)
2 tsp sugar, agave (optional, cuts the acidity of the tomato sauce)
1 can or 1 cup dried Beans (I used black eyed peas but you can use navy, kidney or your favorite type of bean)(optional use for the vegan dish)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 pound ground chuck/beef (optional, use instead of or with beans for non-vegan dish)
2-3 tbs olive oil
Cilantro, culantro, onion powder, garlic powder (Optional)
1-2 cups sunflower oil
- Chop into about 1 in cubes ( peppers, onions and olives if you use them), finely chop garlic.
- In a med-large pot, using med-high heat add oil and onions and saute peppers until translucent. Add in peppers and cook until soft, add garlic and saute for about a minute or two.
- Add Tomato sauce and salt (if you use olives, cut salt to 1 tbs or to your taste), sugar as well as any other seasonings you are using and cook over med heat for 10-15 minutes. You can cover but make sure the filling isn’t too watery.
- Add rice and beans (if they are fresh beans then pre-soak and cook prior to adding) , cook for another 10 minutes. OR
- Brown ground chuck/beef drain fat and add meat to sauce.
- Taste and adjust salt or other seasoning used.
- Allow to cool
- Fill a pan with sunflower oil for lightly frying and turn on to med high heat
- Section dough into 12/14 equal size balls
- Take one ball, roll out with a rolling pin (make sure you lightly flour the rolling surface)
- Roll into a circle about 1/4″ thick
- Place 2-3 tbs of filling into the bottom portion of circle. Do not overfill. Fold over the second half of the circle and seal by pressing a fork around the half circle. Place to the side and repeat for the remaining balls of dough.
(You can make these any size you want.)
Plantains are an amazingly delicious addition to this meal, actually I’d eat them with just about any meal 🙂 and they are simple to make.
Buy green plantains, the darker brown ones yield a sweet and softer results while the green product a crunchy potato like result. I would estimate 1 plantain per person.
- Peel your plantain, cut through the skin (on at least 2 sides) with a sharp pointy blade but not too deep, just enough to go through the skin.
- Cut the plantain into 1.5 in chunks
- Place plantain in the frying pan use to prepare your pastellitos and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Take out and place on a wire rack or paper bag that has been cut open.
- Using the paper bag to apply pressure, flatten the plantain until about 1/2 in. thick and put back into the frying pan . Once both sides are golden brown, remove and sprinkle with salt.
- You can serve these just as they are or can make a dipping sauce. There are several types of sauces that can be made to accompany them. Personally I like to dip them in a jalapeno sauce but another great one is mojo.
Mojo can be made easily…use a mortar and pestle to combine or blender and mix in the following ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Lots of garlic 🙂 1-2 whole heads not cloves
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice mixed with lemon and lime (use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)
- 1 cup minced onion
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 cup Spanish olive oil