Hallacas

Difficulty: BE IN A COOKING MOOD/EQUIPMENT HEAVY

Special Menu: Tour of South America

1 package frozen plantain/banana leaves, thawed, washed and dried, then cut into 12 inch pieces
cotton string/baker’s twine
Very large Pot or steamer

Stew Filling
1 T olive oil
1 onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves
1 medium leek, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
6 slices fakin bacon, chopped
1 can chickpeas, mashed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
½ T salt
1/2 t marjoram
1⁄8 c capers
½ T mustard relish (or use regular relish and a squeeze of yellow mustard)
1⁄8 c red wine vinegar
½ t Worcestershire sauce
½ T brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

heat oil in large saucepan and saute onion, garlic, leeks, peppers, and bacon.
add chickpeas, tomatoes, and remaning ingredients and heat until cooked through and thickened (about 7-10 minutes).

Masa Dough
2⁄3 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon annatto seeds
2 cups masa harina flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄3 cups warm water

Over a low heat, melt half of the shortening with the annatto seeds. Simmer until a bright red color emerges, then scoop out or strain the annatto seeds
Whip remaining shortening until fluffy. Beat in masa harina and salt.
add melted shortening and add water in small amounts until dough comes together smoothly.

Adornos
1⁄4 cup raisins
Olives
almonds

Set up a table for Hallaca assembly:
Plantain leaves
String
Scissors
Wax Paper
Rolling Pin
Prepared Masa dough
Prepared Stew filling
sliced olives
sliced almonds
raisins
a team of helpers

Heat up your steamer or pot with steam rack over medium heat.

place a leaf in front of you and grab a fist full of masa dough. Roll into a ball, then place on leaf, place wax paper on top, and roll out evenly into a circle.

place a scoop of stew in the middle, then “adorn” with raisins, olives, and almonds.

wrap leaf over, folding the dough over the fillings from one side, then the other side, mashing the two edges together to seal in the fillings with the dough. roll all the way up, then fold in each end.

tie the bundle closed with string, wrapping around several times to ensure it is secure. Repeat all steps until you have used all dough. Place in steamer and steam for 1 hour.

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