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Venezuelan Andean Hallacas

  • Prep 5 hr 0 min
  • Total 6 hr 30 min
  • Ingredients 32
  • Servings 50

Ingredients

Ingredients For The Filling (Guiso Crudo)

4 1/2
lbs beef
4 1/2
lbs pork meat
2 1/2
lbs bacon
2
onions, diced
6
sweet peppers, diced
2
medium red peppers, diced
1
cup green onions, chopped
8
garlic cloves, finely chopped
1
tablespoon oregano
2
tablespoons salt
1
tablespoon cumin
1
tablespoon powdered garlic
1
tablespoon ground pepper
1 1/2
bottle (25.4 oz) red cooking wine
12
lbs plantain leaves, smoked
1
cup vegetable oil

Ingredients For The Dough

1
cup pork fat rendering (to cook the annatto)
1
cup anatto (achiote)
3
packages (2 lbs each) precooked white corn flour
15
cups low sodium chicken broth
4 1/2
cups butter (9 bars), at room temperature
Salt to taste

Ingredients To Assembly Hallacas

1/2
cup vegetable oil
4
medium onions, chopped in rings
3
red peppers, cut in thin strips
4
cups parsley, in sprigs
1 1/2
cups black raisins
2
cups chickpeas, cooked
1/2
cup capers
2
cups seedless olives, stuffed with red pepper
2
packages bacon, chopped in small chunks (2 inches)
1
roll cotton yarn

Nutrition Information

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
907.5
% Daily Value
Total Fat
49.5g
76%
Saturated Fat
19.6g
98%
Cholesterol
118.3mg
39%
Sodium
775.8mg
32%
Potassium
1304.6mg
37%
Total Carbohydrate
92.0g
31%
Dietary Fiber
8.5g
34%
Sugars
22.3g
Protein
29.8g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin C
104.30%
104%
Calcium
13.10%
13%
Iron
44.90%
45%
Exchanges:
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Expert Tips

It is preferable to prepare the guiso overnight and refrigerate until use.

Hallacas are the traditional Venezuelan tamales. Internationally known, these tamales' preparation and ingredients vary in each region of the country and each family adds its own touch. I learned to prepare hallacas with a recipe that comes from the Venezuelan Andes, since my mother is a native of that region. This recipe differentiates from those of other regions because it uses guiso crudo (which is when the hallaca meat filling is not previously cooked. Making hallacas is always a great excuse to reunite with the family; that's why there is no Christmas for Venezuelans without hallacas. Here I explain the basic steps for its preparation: making el guiso, cleaning and preparing the leaves, making the dough, assembly and cooking. Let's do it!

I recommend you cut the bacon while is frozen to make it easier to cut.

To save time and facilitate how you serve the hallaca, cut the wraping with scissors on one end and press down on the other end so it slides more easily.

Directions

  • 1 Making guiso: Cut the beef, pork and bacon in small pieces. Place everything in a large container or pot, covered with a lid. Add the onion, sweet pepper, green pepper, green onion and garlic. Season with oregano, salt, cumin, powdered garlic, ground pepper, cooking wine and vegetable oil. Mix well and let macerate overnight, preferably in the fridge. Every now and then stir again with a wooden spoon and cover the pot so the flavor concentrates more.
  • 2 Preparation and cleaning the leaves: Wash the leaves with water; clean them well with a damp cloth and dry them with a dry one. Divide the leaves in two types: one that's the main one (the biggest one) which is where you have to place the dough and hallaca filling and the second leaf (smaller one) tha covers, encloses and protects the tamal while is cooking. You should remove the center stem from the leaves, since this prevents them from bending easily. Be careful not to break the leaf while you remove the stem, with the help of scissors.
  • 3 Making the dough: Heat up a saucepan at medium heat. Add the pork fat and annatto grains. Let the pork fat dissolve and the annatto to render its color. Remove from the stove and let cool. In a large container, add the corn flour and incorporate little by little with the chicken broth, and the softened butter. Knead vigorously and add the pork fat with annatto and salt to taste. The dough has to be soft and with a yellow color. Divide the dough in 50 equal balls.
  • 4 Assembly: Dampen a large leaf with a bit of vegetable oil. Place one ball of dough in the middle of a leaf. Extend the dough in a circular motion with your hands until it is of a 1/4 of an inch thick. Add one tablespoon and a half of guiso with its juice in the center of the dough. On top of the filling, place 2 onion rings, 1 pepper strip, one parsley sprig, 3 raisins, 2 chickpeas, 2 capers, 2 olives and a small piece of bacon.
  • 5 Continue folding the leaf. Take the wider edges and attach them upward. Create a fold until it is completely sealed. Fold the other two ends towards the inside and wrap it with the smaller leaf. Tie the hallacas with the previously cut yarn (of approximately 1 meter and a half lenght). Cross them three times in each direction (horizontal and vertical) and close with a knot or bow.
  • 6 In a large pot, boil 8 gallons of water at high heat. Place the hallacas, cover and cook them to low heat for a period of an hour and a half. Repeat the process with the other hallacas or you can use two pots at the same time.
  • 7 Remove and drain them, preferably in the vertical position. Let cool and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. Since they take a lot of work, the custom is to prepare large quantities of hallacas. These tamales can be kept in the frige for up to 4 weeks.
  • 8 When you need to heat the hallacas again, boil water in a deep pot at high heat. Add the hallacas you wish to reheat (make sure the water is covering them). Lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove. Drain the hallacas, cut the yarn, remove the leaf and enjoy!

Hallacas are the traditional Venezuelan tamales. Internationally known, these tamales' preparation and ingredients vary in each region of the country and each family adds its own touch. I learned to prepare hallacas with a recipe that comes from the Venezuelan Andes, since my mother is a native of that region. This recipe differentiates from those of other regions because it uses guiso crudo (which is when the hallaca meat filling is not previously cooked. Making hallacas is always a great excuse to reunite with the family; that's why there is no Christmas for Venezuelans without hallacas. Here I explain the basic steps for its preparation: making el guiso, cleaning and preparing the leaves, making the dough, assembly and cooking. Let's do it!

Rate and Comment

Martha Salas Martha Salas
December 14, 2016

Hallacas are the traditional Venezuelan tamales. Internationally known, these tamales' preparation and ingredients vary in each region of the country and each family adds its own touch. I learned to prepare hallacas with a recipe that comes from the Venezuelan Andes, since my mother is a native of that region. This recipe differentiates from those of other regions because it uses guiso crudo (which is when the hallaca meat filling is not previously cooked. Making hallacas is always a great excuse to reunite with the family; that's why there is no Christmas for Venezuelans without hallacas. Here I explain the basic steps for its preparation: making el guiso, cleaning and preparing the leaves, making the dough, assembly and cooking. Let's do it!