A Puerto Rican Recipe Good Enough For Gordon Ramsay
Pastelon- A Puerto Rican Recipe Good Enough For Gordon Ramsay

I received a surge of requests for this recipe which scored my MasterChef apron.


This week marked the debut of the 10th Season of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef.  My food journey began seven years ago in the MasterChef kitchen, with Gordon by my side every step of the way.

I would have never had the opportunity to co-found Everything Food without him giving me that very first break. I received a surge of requests for the recipe that scored my MasterChef apron and I am sharing it here with you.

It was all thanks to a dish called pastelón, a Puerto Rican shepherd’s pie, a recipe taught to me by my Abuela Dora. Its complex and rich flavors wowed Gordon, and if you’re making dinner for a special occasion, I can’t recommend it enough.

Traditionally when making pastelón, you fry very thin slices of sweet plantain and layer them with picadillo and green beans.

I prefer a lighter version. I boil the sweet plantain and mash it with cream and butter. Sometimes I will add a little brown sugar as the plantains in Los Angeles aren’t as sweet as the ones on the island.

I chop the green beans into the picadillo (ground beef hash) and top it with the plantain mash, as you would a shepherd’s pie. As we say in Puerto Rico, buen provecho! And don’t forget to check the quality of your ingredients (before you buy them) at com.

P.S. If you want to see my very first version of the dish, check out my audition for Gordon below and don’t miss the epic tenth season of MasterChef Tuesdays and Wednesdays on Fox at 8/7 central.


  • Large saute pan
  • Large pot for boiling
  • Ricer
  • 4-inch ring mold


1 tablespoons salt pork finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup yellow onion, fine dice

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 cup green pepper, fine dice

1/2 cup red bell pepper, fine dice

1 tablespoon manzano pepper, finely diced (sub jalapeno for a softer heat)

1/2 cup sofrito

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon sazón

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 lb ground beef (1/2 lb short rib, 1/4 lb brisket, 1/4 lb sirloin)

1/2 tablespoon capers, chopped

1 cup green beans, blanched in salted water and chopped into ½ inch pieces

1/2 cup manzanilla olives (the kind with pimento in them) chopped

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons prunes, chopped

1 tablespoon sherry

1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

3/4 cup tomato sauce

Salt TT (about 1/2 teaspoon)


  • 4 ripe, yellow plantains (not too black or they will deteriorate)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and white pepper TT
  • 2 tablespoons of microgreens
  • 1 tablespoon of finely diced roasted red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese


  1. Render salt pork in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sweat, then add garlic. When aromatic add peppers and sofrito, stirring occasionally until softened.
  2. Add oregano, sazón, salt, pepper, and beef.
  3. Brown beef and then add capers, green beans, olives, raisins, prunes, sherry, vinegar, and tomato sauce. Salt to taste. Cook over medium heat until beef is done. Keep warm in a 200°F oven
  4. Peel and slice plantains into 2-inch rounds. Rinse briefly under cold water to remove starch. Boil in salted water for 10 minutes until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.
  6. When plantains are fork tender, rinse under hot running water for 30 seconds to wash away excess starch.
  7. Pass plantains through a ricer and add most of the milk and butter mixture. Fold gently until incorporated. Add more milk if the mash is too stiff. Add a little brown sugar if the mash isn’t sweet enough.
  8. Using a  4-inch ring mold, layer 1/2 cup of warm picadillo with a 1/2 cup of warm plantain mash on top.Garnish with micro greens and finely diced roasted red pepper. Finish with a few sprinkles of grated parmesan

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