I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for P.A.N. Cornmeal. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
I think I’m finally getting over my Greece withdrawal…and jet lag. This trip was one of the most memorable trips I have taken and I’m so glad you all enjoyed my daily Instagram updates as much as I did. I am excited to share various aspects of it with you and hopefully show you what a beautiful country Greece has. A and I were amazed at the diverse terrain, friendly people and the FOOD. I’ll leave it at that for now but believe me when I tell you, I could eat Greek food every day and not get tired of it.
Putting all Greek aside, I was a Spanish major in college. You’d never know it if you heard me speak. I’m not terrible but sadly, when you don’t use a language, you tend to lose it. However, the beauty of memory is that it all comes back within a few minutes of conversing with someone who is a native speaker. One of my favorite college classes was a conversational class – it was a lighthearted social class taught by a laid-back professor who literally had us all over to his house one evening for a night of empanadas, arepas and fun. We had a great time and that memory always comes back to me whenever I make Spanish food.
I only just recently discovered P.A.N., a Venezuelan company that specializes in cornmeal. While the word pan means bread in Spanish (totally fitting, no?), the acronym stands for a completely business-related topic (national food products). P.A.N. Cornmeal has been around for years and in fact, is the most popular cornmeal in South America, but only recently has it made its way into the US. Cornmeal is not only a staple in various countries across the world due to its cost effectiveness but it’s also a staple in any food explorer’s closet. I’ve mentioned before how much I love experimenting with different flavors and cultures of the world and so for today’s recipe, I chose a twist on an Italian classic, lasagna. To be frank, lasagna is not my favorite Italian dish but I do love the layered look and flavorful ingredients. While brainstorming for a recipe, I imagined a Spanish-style lasagna made with homemade cornmeal pasta and delicious Spanish flavors. But I had no idea how it was going to turn out.
Making the pasta was actually a simple process – mix three ingredients together, divide into sections, roll out and bake. Easy. I chose my favorite Mexican food ingredients for this recipe: cilantro, spiced chicken, corn, sour cream. I layered everything together (except for the sour cream) and baked it. The end result was amazing. Not only did it look like lasagna (score!), but the blend of flavors was to die for. We both topped off our pieces with sour cream and a healthy amount of lime juice and of course, went back for seconds.
SPANISH CHICKEN LASAGNA W. HOMEMADE CORNMEAL PASTA
1 c cornmeal
1/2 c + 3 1/2 T water
1/4 tsp salt
1.25 pounds chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 lime, juiced
1-2 T vegetable oil*
1 large sweet onion, diced
14 oz pureed tomatoes
14 oz diced tomatoes
3 peppers, diced
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 T vegetable oil*
1 1/2 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 1/2 c fresh corn
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
*I used grapeseed oil.
pasta (detailed photos above)
Combine cornmeal, water and salt in a bowl and mix well. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Divide dough into 4 sections. Roll into a ball. Flatten with your hand and form in a rectangle. Roll out into a thin rectangle, dusting dough and rolling pin with cornmeal if dough begins to stick. Use a metal spatula to carefully loosen and lift dough from counter. Repeat with remaining three sections. Place rolled out pasta on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet in medium heat. Season chicken with pepper, salt, paprika, and chili powder. Sauté on both sides until chicken is fully cooked through. Remove from heat and shred. Mix in lime juice.
Using the same skillet, heat another 2 T oil. Add in onions and sauté on medium heat until soft. Add in tomatoes and peppers and turn heat to low. Sprinkle with salt and stir. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat
Oil an 11×8.5″ baking dish. Place 2 T of veggie mixture on the bottom. Layer cornmeal pasta with chicken, corn, vegetables and cheese, topping the entire lasagna with cheese. Bake on 350F for 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cilantro garnishes, and an extra squeeze of lime juice.
If you’re interested in more recipes using P.A.N., be sure to check out their tumblr and #PANFan hashtag!
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