I grew up eating Picadillo and plantains. My version of Picadillo is savory, with just a little bit of sweet from the raisins. Of course, Picadillo was always served with black beans and rice, and a side of maduros (fried, ripe plantains) or platanos (fried green plantains). Except for the black beans and rice, this was a pretty paleo meal. After recently making paleo pastelon for the first time, I realized I’d been eating the Cuban version of that Puerto Rican dish my whole life, only with the pieces separated. So I decided to try to make what I suppose would be a Cuban, paleo-friendly version of pastelon. Try it! You’ll love it!
- 2 pounds ground beef preferably grass-fed
- 8 plantains ripe
- 1 white onion
- 2 green peppers
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 10 oz green olives pimento stuffed
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tsp cumin
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 6 eggs large
- 1 cup coconut milk
- coconut oil as needed
- Brown the ground beef in a large pot. I usually use a 12-quart stockpot for picadillo, because anything smaller tends to become too full to mix all of the ingredients without making a mess.
- While the beef is browning, dice the onion and green peppers.
- Once the beef is browned, you may drain it if desired. I usually leave the fat in because I get grass-fed beef, and it does add to the flavor.
- Add the diced onions, green peppers, tomato sauce, olives (drained; you don’t need the brine), raisins, cumin, garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, and vinegar to the pot of ground beef and mix well. You now have picadillo!
- Allow the picadillo to simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Peel and slice the plantains. With traditional Puerto Rican pastelon, you’re supposed to slice in thin lasagna noodle-like strips. I’m doing this the Cuban way, so slice on an angle.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet until hot enough to fry a plantain (it should sizzle a bit if you add a few drops of water).
- Fry all of the plantain slices until they are golden brown. This could take a while!
- While the plantains are frying, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a glass 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil.
- Add a layer of fried plantain slices to the baking dish.
- Top the plantain layer with about half of the picadillo.
- Now add another layer of plantains. I spread this layer out a bit more than the first layer, and made sure to keep a few slices (12-14) for the top.
- Now add the rest of the picadillo to the baking dish.
- Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, and whisk in the coconut milk. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the egg + coconut milk mixture over the picadillo and plantain layers.
- Now add the remaining fried plantains as a final layer. I usually cut this up into 12 pieces, and use the remaining plantains to mark each piece.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the egg and coconut mixture is cooked thoroughly.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then slice into 12 pieces.
- Grab your slice and enjoy!