I’m not sure what possessed me to think about an old recipe that I learned as a child when I was a Camp Fire girl.
My Camp Fire leader was Puerto Rican and every now and then she would take us to her house and feed us. This time, she taught us how to make a wonderful dish with green beans, plantains and beef. It was delicious then and it was delicious now. It even heats through well as leftovers.
My Camp Fire leader is one of the most important people in my life. My mother was very strict but she allowed my leader, Becky, to take me wherever she chose. She would take me shopping for clothes, dinner at the old Marshall Field’s in Chicago and also helped me land my first job.
I have always considered Becky my foster mother because without her I wouldn’t have made it through my teen years “intact.” I was a bit wild, i.e. I would run away from home sometimes, but she was always there when I called her to pick me up.
Being a social worker, Becky had many contacts and she eventually opened up her own business which was a Home Care Agency. She cared for people and gave my mother her first real job.
So, it was with sadness that I learned this past year that she had early onset dementia. Her sister took her home to Puerto Rico so that the family could take care of her. Such a beautiful life …
Anyway, I made this Paleo Piñon with Becky in mind. I haven’t had it in years and searched the internet to get the “gist” of it again.
I believe you’ll enjoy it ~ it’s a real treat to have mature “maduro” plantains as they are nice and sweet.
- 4 large ripe (yellow) plantains
- Coconut Oil (for frying)
- 6 eggs, beaten (3 for the bottom of the dish and 3 for pouring over the top of the casserole)
- 2 cans green beans (or you could use fresh ones but they need to be steamed and cooked first)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 1 bell pepper (color doesn’t matter), chopped finely
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon basil (or another herb of your choice)
- Salt and Pepper (to your taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Cut the ends off of the plantains then peel them using a knife by cutting a slit down the side and then taking the peel off with your hands.
- Slice the plantains into diagonal pieces. You should get about 12-18 slices per plantain.
- In a medium sized skillet on medium low heat, add enough coconut oil so that it will coat the bottom of the skillet. When the oil is hot, add the sliced plantains to fill the bottom of the skillet (do not overlap). Once the first group of plantains are golden on both sides, transfer them to a paper towel lined dish. Continue this until all the plantains are cooked then set them aside.
- In another skillet set to medium heat, add the olive oil.
- When the olive oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they are clear.
- Add the garlic and stir into the onions.
- Add the pepper to the onion mixture, stir and let heat through for 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is cooked all the way through.
- Season the beef with the basil, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
- Remove from the stovetop when cooked.
- In a pie dish, add 3 of the beaten eggs to the bottom.
- Next add the plantains on top of the eggs, then add the green beans and lastly the beef mixture. Continue this layering ~ you want to end with one layer of plantains on top.
- Lastly, pour the last three beaten eggs over the top of this casserole. (This should give it a nice shine.)
- Place the pie dish in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the egg is set.
It sounds like a lot of work but really it isn’t.
A lot of Puerto Ricans who make this dish use Sazon for flavoring but it has MSG in it (along with other things I can’t pronounce) and that can tend to give people migraines so I don’t cook with it. You can replicate Sazon if you want to (just Google it).
I chose to keep my recipe simple but you can really add a lot of spices to this dish if you like. Cumin might go really well with it.
Hope you enjoy it!
I served my Paleo Piñon with guacamole and sliced pineapple. It didn’t come out with the layered look but tasted fantastic just the same.
For additional paleo recipes, click here.
And, for an article on the benefits of coconut oil, click here.