When I asked a friend to teach me how to make empanadas, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Four hours in, I had done so much eating, dancing, and laughing that my sides ached the next day, but we hadn’t even started the empanadas.
The real star was the pastelón de yuca, Liyibel’s favorite dish, beloved enough to have it served it at her wedding this past winter.
I think of pastelón as Dominican shepherd’s pie: a hearty comfort food made of layers of meat and a mashed starch, in this case yuca (cassava). Topped with melty cheese, it’ll give you the energy to dance Bachata all night!
Pastelón de Yuca y Pollo
- 3 lbs yuca, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 stick butter
- 1 egg
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 diced purple onion
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons butter (for greasing pan)
- 1 bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Peel and cut yucca. Boil in salted water until soft. Drain water. Mash yuca with milk, butter and egg until you get a smooth puree without lumps. Discard any tough stringy fibers from the yuca.
- Mix the chicken, cilantro and garlic. Cover with water and add a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Boil chicken until tender, adding more water if necessary. Drain and cool to room temperature. Shred chicken into thin strips.
- Melt butter in a skillet, add the red pepper and onion and sauté until tender. Add chicken and cook until chicken is hot. Add milk and cook until the liquid becomes a thick sauce.
- Preheat oven to 350 ° F [175°C]. Spread a 9″x13″ pan with butter. Put half of the yuca in the pan, spreading evenly using a fork to check for yuca fibers. Add chicken and vegetable mix, distributing in a uniform layer. Follow with the rest of the yuca. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
- Bake until the cheese browned (15-20 mins).
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 cups evaporated milk
- 2½ cups ice
Refrigerate the orange juice and milk until very cold. Add the ice to the milk and stir. Add sugar to taste. Slowly pour the orange juice in the milk, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.