How To Make Trini Chicken Pastelles
It’s not a Trinbagonian Christmas without some Pastelles hiding somewhere in the freezer:
Ground Chicken – 1 lb
Lime Juice - 2 tbsp
Chive – 1/3 cup (finely chopped)
Pimento - 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Garlic - 2 tbsp (divided + finely chopped)
Crushed Pepper - ½ tsp
Ground Paprika – ¼ tsp
Mustard - ½ tbsp
Pepper Sauce - 1 tsp
Aromatic Bitters - 4 dashes
Ketchup – ¼ cup
BBQ Sauce – ¼ cup
Black Pepper - ¼ tsp
Salt - ½ tsp
Fine Thyme - 6 sprigs (divided)
Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp + ½ cup
Parsley – ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Hot Water - 1 ½ cup
Unsalted Butter - ¾ cup
Corn Meal - 1 ½ cup
Golden Raisins/Raisins/Craisins - ½ cup
Pimento Stuffed Olives - 15 – 20 (sliced)
Banana leaves – 15 (cut into approx. 9inch pieces – frozen overnight and thawed before preparing
Foil Sheets – 15 (12” X 12”)
Seasoning of the Chicken:
In a medium bowl add chicken, lime juice, chive, pimento, 2 tbsp garlic, crushed pepper, paprika, mustard, pepper sauce, bitters, ketchup, BBQ sauce, black pepper, salt and 3 sprigs thyme – mix thoroughly and let rest for a few hours or over night
In a medium pan over medium heat, heat vegetable oil.
Once heated, add 3 sprigs of thyme and 1 tbsp garlic.
Allow to sauté for about 2 mins.
Stir in chicken and allow to cook for 15 mins stirring every 2 mins.
Turn off the heat, remove thyme stems and stir in parsley.
Prepare the Dough:
In a medium bowl mix hot water and butter until butter is completely melted.
Add corn meal a little at a time stirring each time until a soft smooth dough is formed.
Prepare a baking sheet by greasing lightly with vegetable oil.
Using a ¼ measuring cup, portion dough, form into balls and cover with a damp cloth.
Constructing the Pastelles:
Using a pastelle press, cover the top side with a plastic bag.
Grease the plastic cover lightly with vegetable oil.
Place banana leaf on the base of the press.
Dip one side of the corn meal ball in vegetable oil and place oiled side down on the banana leaf about 2 inches away from the hinged edge of the press (not the exact center).
Press to flatten, remove from press and set banana leaf with pressed corn meal unto foil sheet.
Place 2 tbsp of chicken about 1 ½ inches away from the edge closest to you. Be sure to leave edges free from filling to ensure a secure seal.
Add 3-4 raisins and 3- 4 slices of olives to the chicken filling.
Fold over top side of banana leaf ensuring that the edges all align to seal the filling.
Fold forward again to enclose, then fold both sides toward the center.
Place folded banana leaf with pastelle inside just past the halfway mark of the foil sheet.
Fold the top side of the foil sheet to meet the other end and fold both ends towards to pastelle.
Fold both ends using small folds until it reaches the pastelle.
Continue this process for the other pastelles.
Steaming the Pastelles:
Using a deep sauté pan, fill halfway with water.
Once full, place frozen pastelles in the water and cover (as illustrated in the video).
Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and allow to cook for 20 mins until center of the pastelles feels soft.
Remove pastelles from water, allow to cool before eating.