Harina Rellena (Corn & Picadillo Casserole)

I would compare Harina Rellena to a shepherd’s pie. Think of it like a layered corn meal & picadillo casserole. This dish is interesting because if served warm, it has a soupy consistency. But if allowed to cool to room temperature, it is more like a pie. I love the idea of this, but I think it needs some modifications to enhance the flavors. It has a lot of potential, so if you plan to make this, or have made it in the past, please let me know of any improvements!


Harina Rellena

Time: approx. 60-90 minutes
Makes 8 servings

1 tbps. cooking oil
1 garlic clove
1¾ cups corn meal
8 cups water
1 tbsp. salt
Picadillo (recipe can be found here)

  • Mince the garlic.
  • Rinse the corn meal 3-4 times until it turns clear.

  • In a large pot, add the oil and bring to medium-high heat. Fry the garlic until it starts turning golden, then remove from heat.
  • Add the corn meal, water, and salt into the pot.
  • Bring to medium heat and allow to cook for about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens.
  • While the corn meal cooks, prepare the picadillo.
  • Pour half the corn meal into a greased casserole dish and spread out flat
  • Layer with the picadillo, then top with the remaining corn meal (should be a layer of picadillo between two layers of corn meal).
  • For a more soupy consistency, it could be served warm. If allowed to cool to room temperature, it can be sliced like a pie.

Notes & Comments:
  • This is another pretty basic recipe that allows for adaptions. I found the corn meal to be somewhat bland and could use some flavor. Some ideas:
    • Maybe adding some sugar to the corn meal as it cooks would create an interesting balance of sweet and savory.
    • Possibly adding some cheese to the corn meal, or grating some on top and then baking it afterwards could be an interesting combination.
  • In the original recipe, she says to cook the corn meal for 2.5 hours. It does not take that long at all, so I think she made a mistake. After 1 hour, I think I actually overcooked it because I found that it hardened a little too much for my liking once cooled.
  • According to this site, the corn meal can be prepared in a pressure cooker for approximately 15 minutes instead.

Receta Original:


1 cda. aceite
1 diente de ajo
1¾ taza harina de maíz
8 tazas de agua
1 cda. de sal
1 receta de picadillo

Caliente el aceite y fría el diente de ajo hasta que este doradito. Déjelo refrescar. Lave la harina. Eche la harina lavada con el agua, sal, aceite y ajo en una cacerola grande. Déjela hervir aproximadamente 2½ horas moviéndola de vez en cuando para que no se pegue. Mientras se cocina la harina haga el picadillo. Cuando ya la harina esté espesa, vierta la mitad en un fuente o molde engrasado. Cubra la harina con picadillos y luego échele el resto de la harina por encima de modo que quede una capa de picadillo entre dos capas de harina. Si desea voltearla deje que se refresque ligeramente y podrá cortarla en tajadas como un pastel. Da 8 raciones.