Like a Chilean shepherd's pie, pastel de choclo tops spiced ground beef with a puréed corn crust. You can prepare the pies through step 5 up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill. It may take up to 10 minutes longer to bake the cold pies, and broiling may not be needed to brown tops. Use purchased refrigerated grilled chicken breast pieces or grill your own.
Sunset SEPTEMBER 2005
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat, combine beef and olive oil; break beef into chunks and stir often until no longer pink in center and liquid evaporates, 7 to 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover raisins with hot tap water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain.
4. With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. To drippings, add onion and garlic. Stir often on high heat until onion is lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add raisins, olives, paprika, cumin, beef, and 3 tablespoons water; stir over medium heat to mingle flavors, 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spoon mixture into 4 individual casseroles (2- to 2 1/2-cup size). Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Lay equal portions of chicken over beef, and push egg halves into casseroles, making mixture level.
6. In a food processor, whirl corn, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cream until coarsely puréed. Rinse and dry frying pan, then pour corn mixture into pan. Stirring on high heat, bring to bubbling, then reduce heat and, stirring often, simmer until darker yellow and drier, 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon corn mixture equally over beef, chicken, and eggs and spread level.
7. Set casseroles on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, set on a rack positioned so tops are about 4 inches from broiler, until hot in center, 13 to 16 minutes. Turn heat to broil (heat may not come on right away) and brown crusts, 3 to 4 minutes more after broiler is hot.
Wine Pairing: Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot with dark cassis, plum, and black-olive flavors, such as Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon 2003.
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