Pasteles - PR Holiday Food

Masa or Batter

Green Bananas - Small Batch 2 to 3 bunches (two dozen or so pasteles depending on the size of the pastele).  Large Batch 4-6 bunches (three and a half  to four dozen or so depending on the size of the pastele). Soak them in warm water for a while to make them easier to peel. I left them from 20 to 45 minutes a batch.

Mami always puts in two medium potatoes. I only used one because it was huge.  I  decided to use yautia because I saw it in another recipe and was curious. I'm not sure it changed the flavor or the consistency of the batter or masa.

A tip for peeling the bananas - cut along the big ridge on the back of the banana. It easier to get your thumb under the ridge. I peel one side of the banana, then I flip it around and peel the other side.  Seems to bring the peel away from the banana more cleanly. 

NOTES: Careful, yautia gets really slippery when peeling it.  The bananas give off a sticky glue-like substance that will stick to your hands and utensils and seems as though you will never get it off.  Someone should look into this stuff. Papi says the salt in the water keeps this "glue" from coating your hands entirely.

Put the bananas in water. so they don't brown. Daddy puts salt in the water. It doesn't take much. 

About a two to three tablespoons of milk into the blender. The milk will help in making the masa come together quicker. I may have not used enough milk since my pasteles were firmer than Mami's.  I sort of liked it that way, but I may put more mile into the masa next couple of times to see what consistency I get.

See the milk in the blender? The bananas, potatoes, and yautia are cut into pieces ready to drop into the blender. Other recipes I've seen also use or add plaintains, eddo, and pumpkin. In the future I plan to experiment with some of these other ingredients. Start up with six or seven pieces, then drop in several to a handful of pieces at a time. 

Here is the consistency.  I start with blending the masa, then I use the liquefy or frappe bottons on my blender. Sometimes you need more milk to get the contents moving again. Occassionally, I turn off the blender and use a long ice tea spoon to stir up the contents getting the air pockets out and to get the maza moving again.

As the blender gets full of masa, I dump the masa into a pan and start the next batch of banana pieces. When this is completed, I pour in about a half cup of the olive oil infused with annatto to add color and flavor.  Mami adds salt to the masa as well.  I didn't add any because I rather salt at the table. She sometimes adds more milk to the masa at this point as well. I didn't this time.

To make the oil, pour olive oil into small pan with annatto.  I didn't measure.  I heated the oil until it got red and then took it off the heat. The picture below doesn't show the right amount of oil because I had poured it into the batter before I remembered to take a picture. Reserve some of the oil for later when you will start putting your meat and maza together.
NOTE:  This stuff will stain everything. I put a piece of wax paper on my counter when I used the oil.

I put the masa in the fridge. I read a tip somewhere that this will make it easier to set and spread.  I did need to refrigerate the masa I made, because it took a long time to do and I needed to get to work.

Meat Filling

I bought two pork roasts, only because they were on sale. I made only one of the roasts pictured below for a small batch which made a little over two dozen. (I used the second pork roast the following week for more pasteles.) But I usually use pork tenderloin.  Mami used to buy pork butt or comparable.  Cut them up into approximately one inch pieces.
NOTE: I have separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.  You should too. Practice good kitchen hygiene when cutting and handling pork.

Cook the meat until browned or no longer raw.

and then add your garlic and onions.  For a small batch I used one large onion and about three cloves of garlic.  I love garlic and will always increase a recipes garlic portion by double or triple, but that's me.  For a larger batch I used two onions, and six cloves of garlic.

Cook onions and garlic until soft.

Now the spices.  Here the thing about the spices.  Mami uses sazon and sometimes adds Adobe.  But when I looked at the ingredients, there is monosodium glutamate in sazon, which my system can't tolerate well.  And the Adobe's first ingredient is salt.  I had all the same ingredients in my pantry so I made my own.

I really didn't measure the spices percisely, just approximate. The teaspoon I used was a regular metal teaspoon folks usually use to stir their coffee or tea.

For small batch I used. 

1 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of coriander
onion powder and garlic powder (because Mami uses the powders so I put some in too, even though I used fresh as well.)
2 teaspoons of oregano
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
annatto (Mami usually adds some of the annatto oil to the meat. I forgot to, so I put some annatto in a tea ball and threw it in with the meat. So mine did not have the added oil in the meat.)
3/4 to a jar of olives (I added this later in the cooking process because I didn't want them to get too soft and break up
New ingredients that I added that Mami does not. These are optional:
capers - I added capersbecause they are in brine like the olives and I didn't have a full jar of olives. I have always wanted to use capers in something. Never tried them before.)
I also added chick peas, half a can.  Remove the skins on the chick peas first. Mami suggested that I put some in my pasteles although she never used them in her recipe.
I also cut up a half of a red pepper and a half of green pepper.

Here is what the meat looked like after cooking with all the ingredients.

It's time to put it all together.

NOTE: I am a little apprehensive in using aluminum foil to boil these pasteles due to the claim that alumium may play a part in Alzheimer disease. I researched the link between the two trying to separate fact from fiction and found differing opinions, so I went to medical websites looking for a definitive answer.  Since I could not find a conclusive and definitive answer, I'm going with my gut. I would not use alumimum for wrapping the pasteles, especially since boiling aluminum seems the worse possible way to use it.  BUT....
That would mean using parchment paper and string to wrap the pasteles for boiling making this step in the process as laborious and time consuming as the other steps.  SO...I used the aluminum foil anyways. Groan. It's so much faster to use. But next time I will use parchment and string. Promise.

Take a large spoon and put some of the maza on the parchment paper or foil. Spread into a oblong shape or circle.

Add the meat mixture in the center, making sure there is an olive or two in each pastele,

Fold the parchment paper or foil with the masa in half having one half of the masa cover the other. Using your hand smooth out the foil and bring the masa together to make a rectagular shape for the pastele. Fold the ends.  Bring a pot of water to boil adding salt to the water. Papi says this keeps the foil from discoloring too badly. Put about eight to ten pasteles in boiling water and cook for 25 minutes.  Remove to tray to cool.

Serve warm.  Carefully remove foil or parchment paper and serve.  If you are going to re-warm the pasteles remove any foil before placing in microwave. Pasteles may be frozen.

Good Luck.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails