Recipe by Olha
Hallacas [ay-YAH-kahs] are served as both an appetizer and main dish. Hallacas, more than any other food, symbolize Christmas for Venezuelans. Delicious meaty morsals are surrounded by a tender dough, then steamed to perfection in colorful banana leaves. If you are fortunate to have access to these large, beautiful banana leaves, plan on using them for truly authentic results.
Top Review by Maria Viso-Corbitt
I am venezuelan and the recipe looks really good and actually, very similar to my family's old recipe, but the hallacas are never wrapped in corn husks (those are used for tamales) they are wrapped in plantain leaves (they can be found in spanish stores, already clean, cut and frozen) believe it or not, this little detail will change the flavor completely...
- 1 lb top round beef, cut into 1/4-to 1/2 inch-dice
- 1 lb lean pork, cut into 1/4-to 1/2-inch dice
- 1⁄4 lb bacon, strips cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 1 onion, peeled
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons marjoram
- 1 medium leek, diced
- 1⁄4 cup capers
- 1 tablespoon mustard relish, pickle, minced
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 bell pepper, cut into 1/4-to-1/2-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 2⁄3 cup lard or 2⁄3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon annatto seeds (achiote, optional for colour)
- 2 cups masa harina flour (dehydrated, treated corn flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1⁄3 cups warm water
- 24 dried corn husks (or 24 (9-inch squares parchment paper or tinfoil)
- 1 lb shredded cooked chicken
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1⁄4 cup blanched almond
- 2 ounces pimientos, sliced
- 5 ounces pimento stuffed olives, cut in half
- Tabasco sauce
Directions See How It's Made
- FOR THE MEAT FILLING: Put beef, pork, and bacon in a large pan. Puree the tomatoes with the peeled onion and garlic. Add mixture to the meat pan along with the salt, marjoram, and leek. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and continue cooking until all meat is tender, about 2 hours.
- When meat is tender, add to the meat mixture the capers, mustard pickles, vinegar, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Raise the heat to high and cook the filling, stirring, until almost all liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins and set filling aside.
- FOR THE MASA DOUGH: Over a low heat, melt 1/3 cup lard with the annatto seeds. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whip remaining lard until fluffy. Beat in masa harina, salt, cayenne peper, and water. Finally, beat in melted, strained lard, discarding annatto seeds. Form dough into 24 balls.
- FOR THE FINAL PREPARATIONS: Put a ball of Masa Dough in the center of each corn husk. Flatten dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Top each masa-coated husk with an equal distribution of the meat mixture, chicken, hard cooked eggs, almonds, pimentos, and olives. Sprinkle on Tabasco sauce to taste.
- Fold corn husks to completely encase the filling. Tie each hallaca with thin strips of corn husk or kitchen string. When tightly assembled, steam halacas for 1 hour. Serve piping hot.
- NOTE: Hallacas are easily refrigerated or frozen. Reheat by steaming again until hot. Makes 24 Hallacas.
- source--Macuto-Sheraton Hotel, Caracas, Venezuela.