Pasteles en Hoja

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Tonight is Noche Buena!! A tradition in most Latino’s homes around the world…Christmas Eve celebration that is shared with friends and family. There is food galore and amazing dishes. ONE of those dishes is Pasteles en Hoja. Tamales-like appetizers that will very quickly become a staple in YOUR family when you try them. Its only fair that I share this one TODAY!


Instructions:

24 green bananas
2 plantains
1 ripe yellow plantain
1 pound white yautia [malanga]
1 pound yellow yautia [malanga]
1 liter of milk or chicken broth
3 Tablespoons annatto (natural coloring )
2-3 tablespoons salt or to taste
½ cup oil or 1 cup shortening
Juice of 2 sour oranges
Banana or plantain leaves
kitchen twine for tying

Pork Stew Meat filling:
2 pounds ground beef or pork shoulder meat cubed.
2 bell peppers
1 large onion
3 small habanero peppers seedless
5 cloves of garlic mashed
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Sour juice of 1 orange
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups of hot water

Directions:

Preparing filling: Use the Pork stew or beef. In a large skillet heat the oil and stir fry the meat until its color in no longer pink and has browned a little. Add all the other ingredients and enough hot water to almost cover. If you are using ground beef simmer for 30 minutes. If you decide to cook pork shoulder meat cut into one inch cubes, increase simmering time 30 minutes or until it’s tender, and reserves the tomato paste to add in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Try to leave with abundant sauce. Set aside.

For the starchy dough (masa): Peel and rinse the bananas, plantains and yams; cut into pieces and leave them soaking in water with salt, about 30 minutes or until ready to process. Leaving them in water prevents the starchy meals from darkening. Drain before using.

Sauté the annatto in oil or shortening. Be cautious and do not to overheat the annatto or it will end up with a bitter taste. Reserve ⅓ of this mixture to grease each sheet of plantains leaves. Grate, blend or process the starchy vegetables with the broth, annatto [achiote] mixture and sour orange juice. Add salt to taste.

To assemble: Take an 10 inch square piece of plantain leave, grease with some of the annatto oil, and place about ½ cup of the dough mixture [masa] in the center. Spread out a little and in the center add 2-3 Tablespoons of filling. Fold up like a letter, and fold in the two ends to seal completely. To secure, tie it up tightly with kitchen twine. Aluminum or parchment paper can be used to help seal it even more, or to be able to use a smaller size plantain leaves. Continue packing like this until all the masa is used.

Preparation: Store uncooked in the freezer for up to one month. Cook in boiling water for 30-45 minutes. Unwrap and serve hot. Serve accompanied with ketchup or Tabasco sauce. Note: For every liter of water used to cook the pasteles add one tablespoon of salt.

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