Puerto Rican Pasteles World Cuisine Today Magazine worldcuisinetoday.com
Growing up one of my best childhood friends was raised in the Puerto Rican American culinary way. I will never forget being able to make Christmas Pasteles with her mom and family. It seemed to go right along with decorating the tree. They have a rich slightly sweet aromatic taste with shredded meat, yautia which is similar to a potato, green plantains, and Kambocha pumpkin. Take a few days to make this with your family some time. Don't forget the banana leaves, and to wrap them up pretty with some paper and twine. The look like little gifts your family can unwrap. Find new and exciting recipes at: www.worldcuisinetoday.com.
Recipe for Authentic Puerto Rican Pasteles
For the Meat Filling
Two pounds of cubed dark meat chicken or pork shoulder diced finely
Three Tablespoons Sofrito pepper sauce
Three garlic cloves minced
One medium yellow or white onion minced
Two teaspoons of fresh oregano
One half cup minced sweet pepper
One to two Serrano or Jalapeno peppers
One envelope Sazon sin Achiote or Three Tablespoons seasoned salt
1/2 cup diced tomatoes or sauce
One cup chickpeas
salt and pepper to taste
Three quarters of a cup of broth or water
For the Drizzling Oil
6 Tablespoons Achiote or sweet Paprika
Two cups vegetable oil
For the Masa
Two green plantains peeled
Three green bananas peeled
One and a half pounds of Yautia (Taro root) peeled
One half pound Kabocha pumpkin peeled
One half cup Sofrito sauce (Racaito)
One Tablespoon dried oregano or Two Tablespoons fresh
One teaspoon beef boullion
Two packets Sazon sin Achiote or Six Tablespoons seasoned salt
For the Sofrito Sauce
Five green sweet peppers minced
Two red bell peppers minced
12 Aji Dulce or Two Banana peppers minced
Five cups yellow or white onions minced
One cup garlic minced
Two cups flat leaf parsley minced
Two cups cilantro minced
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
Three Tablespoons fresh Oregano
Twelve Banana leaves washed and prepared
For the Sofrito
1) Mince all ingredients in blender, food processor or by hand. Keep chilled for use in the recipes
For the Meat Filling
1) In a wide large pan or dutch oven place your minced chicken or pork with a few Tablespoons of neutral oil or extra virgin olive oil. Saute until brown and not pink on the outsides for six to seven minutes.
2) Next add the onion, oregano and minced peppers. Saute with a few more Tablespoons of the oil until soft another six minutes.
3) Add the tomatoes, Sazon packet or three Tablespoons seasoned salt, and a cup of garbanzo beans (chick peas) cooked and three quarters of a cup of broth or water.
(You may also combine these ingredients in an Instapot or pressure cooker for 45 minutes)
For the Masa
1) Using a food processor or by hand grate the peeled plantains, green bananas, Yautia, and pumpkin. Grate in batches with a splash of water if necesary. They should make a fine paste
2) Add the remaining ingredients and combine well in batches. Place in an air tight non reactive container and keep chilled until use.
For the Banana Leaves
1) Devein the banana leaves and wash under warm water.
2) Cut into twelve inch square pieces and pat dry.
1) Create a line including the Masa mixture, the Filling mixture, the Achiote oil, and lastly the banana leaves.
2) Cut a piece of butcher paper slightly larger than you leaf. Set the leaf on it an paint with the oil.
3) Take one half cup of the Masa and place it in the center of the leaf. Smooth over the leaf.
4) Place two to three Tablespoons of the meat filling in a line down the center of the Masa and spread out a bit.
5) Fold the banana leaf in half to cover the meat filling.
6) Fold the ends of the leaf together twice to create a seal. Wrap the butcher paper over the entire thing like a present.
7) Boil in a tall stock pot or dutch oven in batches.
Yield is roughly twelve large pasteles.
Enjoy with Lamb, Pork or Chicken and Rice with Pigeon Peas