Saturday, July 24, 2010

Creamy Corn-Crusted Tempeh Pot Pie ( Pastel de Choclo )

Curious little kitty wanted to know what mommy was doing : ]

Shepherd pie has to be one of my favorite things to eat. But it just seemed like the wrong thing to make in the middle of summer. This dish takes on a new spin to what most people think a shepherd pie should be. Since corn is in season now, I had to take advantage of all the fresh, organic corn that has been piling into my local market. So I decided to cooked up some Pastel de Choclo, which translates to Corn Pie. To me it tasted like a sweet corn tamale but of course a little different, but different in a good way. I omitted the raisins and olives from mine just because I am not a big fan. But please don't feel the need to copy me and do add them if you like.

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* 8 ounces tempeh, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
* 2 Tb peanut oil or olive oil
* 2 medium-size yellow onions ( 1/2 pound), chopped finely
* 1 large carrot, diced
* 2 Tb white or red wine or vegetable broth
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
* 1/2 pound potato or yuca, peeled, cooked, and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
* 1 cup vegetable broth
* 2 Tb soy sauce
* 1/4 cup dark raisins
* 1/2 cup sliced green olives
* Freshly ground pepper

Corn Toppings -
* 3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels ( thawed and drained, if frozen )
* 3 Tb cornstarch
* 2/3 cup soy creamer or heavy cream substitute, or a combination of the two
* 1 clove garlic, chopped
* 1/2 tsp salt
* Freshly ground pepper
* 3 Tb peanut oil
* 8 to 10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
* 1 Tb sugar, or about 1 tsp of sugar per individual pie

1. Cook the tempeh for 10 minutes, either by steaming in a steam basket or microwaving for 8 minutes in a covered glass bowl with 1 cup of water. Drain the cooked tempeh if necessary and crumble when cool enough to handle. Lightly oil a glass or ceramic 11 by 7 inch baking dish that measures at least 3 inches deep, or use four 2 cup oven-proof individual ceramic casserole dishes.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, add the onions and carrot, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the onions are very soft and translucent. Add the wine, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the cumin, oregano, and paprika, and stir. Add the crumbled tempeh, potato, vegetable broth, soy sauce, raisins, olives, and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings with more ground pepper if desired. Remove from the heat and ladle into the prepared casserole dish(es).

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F and make the corn topping. In a blender jar, pulse the corn kernels, cornstarch, soy creamer, garlic, salt and pepper until thick and creamy. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat, then pour in the corn mixture, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick cooked oatmeal. Remove from the heat, stir in the basil, and spread evenly over the filling. Sprinkle the top of the pie(s) evenly with the sugar.

4. Place a baking sheet with a rim under the pie in case the filling bubbles over the edges of dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the corn topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If desired, broil on high for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, to create dark brown spots on the corn topping, to give your pastel de choclo a much-desired, traditional well-browned look. Let the pie(s) cool for at least 15 minutes before serving; the filling and toppings will be very hot!

For a soy-free variation, replace the tempeh with 4 cups of cooked chickpeas, chopped coarsely.


  1. see? you cooked more complicated one again!!! :)
    looks soooo gooooood!

  2. oh my lawd! this looks so friggen' delish! i just ate dinner but this is making me hungry all over again. you are like a superhero in the kitchen!

  3. nice. again.

    You've been awarded. again. Check out Weekly Vegan Menu.

  4. This is such an interesting take on Shepherds pie. I picked up some tempheh recently and have been wondering what to do with it, may give this a try. I'm also quite curious abou the addition of raisins, but i like foodie experiments!

  5. Beautiful looking dish, this is going to be next up though it will have to wait until I return from vacation. I would probably omit the raisins too, there is something about having them in warm dishes that I don't like.

  6. What a creative idea, that looks awesome!

  7. Jackln, since you often come by my blog I added your blog to my blogroll.

  8. Toshiko - No, this not complicated : ]

    Rikki Cupcake - Far from a superhero but thank you..that was very sweet

    Vegan Aide - Thank you!

    mangocheeks - Yes, this is a great way to use the tempeh you have on hand. I am just starting to get used to the idea of cooking with far i love it!

    Tender Branson - Ooo where are you going on vacation? Have fun! and yes, warm raisins are meh to me too

    VeganCraftastic - Thank you!

    Millie - Aww thank you! I'll add yours to mine too!

  9. This sounds so nice, Jacklyn. I love that you added raisins-some of the best foods are sweet and savory!

  10. What a tasty twist on the standard shepard's pie! Sounds like great summer fare, maybe something to remember for the next pot luck.

  11. Stella - I didn't add raisins..I am glad you like them but for some reason I don't like cooked raisins..maybe I am weird haha

    Hannah - Thank you! Yes, I think this would be a wonderful dish to bring to a potluck. I fed it to two meat-eaters and they both loved it!