Daily Bite: Pastel de Choclo a la Chilota (Baked Corn and Meat Pie)

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INGREDIENTS:

For Filling:
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
3 pounds mussels, debearded
3 pounds clams
3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
5-inch link of chorizo, chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
12 medium-size shrimp, peeled
12 to 16 bay scallops (or 6 large sea scallops)
12 green olives

For Corn Mixture:
11 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup milk
12 large basil leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

PREPARATION:

In a large pot, combine white wine and water and bring to a rapid boil. Add mussels. Cover and steam for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are wide open. Remove mussels to a colander and reserve. Add clams to cooking liquid and steam in the same manner until open. Remove to the colander and let cool. Strain liquid and reserve. When shells are cool enough to handle, remove and discard them. Set mussels and clams aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter; add chorizo, onion, and scallions; and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sweet paprika and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups of the liquid. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the parsley and taste for seasoning. You won´t need any salt, as the liquid is already salty.

To make the corn topping, puree the corn kernels in batches, with milk and basil, in a blender or food processor. For a smoother texture press mixture through a sieve. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add corn puree and salt and pepper to taste. Add whole egg while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture has slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Divide mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops evenly over 6 individual earthenware dishes (holding about 2 cups each). Ladle the chunky sauce over seafood and place 2 olives in every dish. Cover with the corn puree. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Serve immediately with a pungent, fresh salsa. Makes 6 servings.

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