Piñon is a hearty plantain casserole made with layers of picadillo, fried ripe plantains, kidney beans and green beans. Try this Puerto Rican beef and plantain piñon recipe today!
Puerto Rican Picadillo is one of my favorite dishes to make. It’s incredibly fast, easy and flavorful. Usually we eat it served over rice, as a filling for empanadas or stuffed inside mashed potato balls known as Papas Rellenas.
Recently, however, I was searching for other ways to use picadillo and I came across this piñon recipe that I found in my Puerto Rican cookbook Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (I highly recommend getting it!).
Piñon is a country casserole made with plantains, beef and kidney beans. The sweet and salty combo of plantains and picadillo is mouthwatering!
When I first saw the recipe, it seemed quite similar to another Puerto Rican dish called Pastelon (recipe coming soon!), which also has fried ripe plantains and picadillo. The main difference though, is that Pastelon doesn’t have any beans and the whole thing is “set” by using cheese and eggs as a binder, similar to a lasagna.
I made a few changes to the original recipe by adding green beans to the mix. Gotta get your veggies! Plus, I like all-in-one meals.
The whole thing gets baked together and soaks up the flavor from the picadillo. Mine is a bit crumbly when served, but the taste makes up for the messy appearance. My husband served himself up a big bowl and went to town!
Traditionally, eggs are used as a binder for piñon. I usually skip this step for convenience sake, and the flavor is still the same. If you would like it more solid like a meatloaf, here are the instructions:
Beat two eggs with 3 tablespoons of water. Pour half into the bottom of your casserole dish before putting down the first layer of plantains. Pour the rest of the eggs evenly over the top of the casserole before baking.
Don’t forget a slice of silky smooth cheese flan for dessert! Puerto Rican Flan de Queso:
- 1 recipe picadillo prepared without potatoes*
- 1 can (15.5oz) kidney beans, drained
- 1 can (14.5 oz) cut green beans, drained
- 3 ripe plantains
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the picadillo, kidney beans and green beans. Set aside.
- Peel the plantains and cut into 1/2-inch slices. In a large frying pan over medium heat, fry plantains until soft and golden, about 2-4 minutes per side. They will pierce easily with a fork when tender. Place on paper towels to drain.
- Assemble the casserole by arranging 1/3 of the plantains in single layer in the baking dish. Cover with half the picadillo mixture. Repeat these layers ending with a layer of plantains.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
See instructions within post on how to create a firm/solid casserole using eggs to set it.