Since my parents are in the Dominican Republic this week, leading the team that is building the kitchen for the Lighthouse School in Los Alcarrios, and since any purchases made through my shop will help support this project, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe for a dish often served to the teams.
I think my mom got this recipe off the internet after they came back from last year's trip - it's slightly tweaked to suit our taste but close to the original. It takes a bit of time and pots to prepare but it freezes well if you want to make a double batch and it's so worth it! I can usually get two dinners out of this for my family of six. Here's a picture of the finished product followed by the recipe:
Pastelon de Arroz (Rice Casserole)
Cook enough brown rice (recommend adding 1/2 tsp salt to the water) to yield 6 cups of cooked rice. When cooked, put half in bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Reserve remaining half.
1 lb ground meat. (turkey, chicken, beef, pork)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped fresh basil
3 T tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, diced small
1 red pepper, diced small
1 tsp. salt (if using ground turkey, might want to use less if using ground pork)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
3-5 garlic cloves diced
dashes of chili powder and paprika
Mix all meat mixture ingredients together until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Then spread over rice in the 9 x 13 pan.
2 c. finely chopped spinach
3/4 c. milk (I use soy milk)
Boil the spinach/salt in the milk until the spinach is tender then add this mixture to the reserved rice.
3 T butter
1 T flour
3/4 c milk (I use soy milk)
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese (or add in some other white cheeses as well - I like using a mixture of mozzarella and yogurt cheese)
Melt butter then add flour and stir until well mixed. Add milk and stir until smooth. Add salt and cheese and stir until it becomes a thick cream. Add HALF of the cheese sauce to the the rice/spinach mixture then spread this mixture over the meat in the 9 x 13 pan. Spread remaining half of cheese sauce over the top of the casserole and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.