Pastel de Choclo, Chilean Comfort Food

GUEST POST: Kyle G. Roesler, author of The Navel of the World, shares his experiences eating another Chilean national dish, the comforting pastel de choclo.

Comfort food, South American style. That’s how I think of pastel de choclo, a casserole-like dish that is common in many Andean countries. To wax a bit more poetic for a moment, pastel de choclo is more like a gold medal in culinary arts, its golden glow usually presented to the diner in a round casserole dish and it makes you feel like you must have done something good to be eating food as tasty as all this.

The dish has a couple of layers, so we’ll start from the top and work our way downwards. Its public face is the crispy baked (or broiled) upper crust made of corn meal. Specifically, it is made from the large kernels of choclo or Peruvian corn (though I’ve seen recipes on-line saying the dish can be made with the sweet corn more common in North America and Europe, too). This cornmeal is kind of like a…

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