Sunday, December 07, 2008
Its tamale season and I am in the spirit, but not the regular tamale spirit I usually get in, I am feeling tropical and with this feeling comes pasteles. "What are pasteles?" You find yourself asking. Well pasteles are a Puerto Rican delight made out of mashed plantains, green bananas, yucca root and pulled pork all wrapped in a banana leaf and parchment and boiled till succulent. You might remember that I posted about these before - well this time I made my own, to eat and to share. I made up my own recipe after reading dozens and I feel quite confident that if anyones island grandmother tasted these she would be proud, seriously.
I am all up in the banana leaves, they are inexpensive, the package has a lot, (there is enough in one package to wrap a medium sized pig) and they add such a unique flavor to pork, I bet goat and lamb would benefit as well.
I rubbed and seasoned and seasoned and rubbed the pork until it sighed with delight. I cooked it in my outdoor pit for 14 hours until the meat fell off the bone (kidding, I pressure cooked it) Then the process commenced.
A little of the 'masa' or dough or paste or whatever you want to call it made from the bananas and the roots that I peeled and cut into smaller pieces and food processed with some of the cooking liquid from the meat until it was like cooked oatmeal, some green olives for a flavor packet a pinch of the meat then fold it up.
Fold it, wrap it, fold it and wrap it again with both banana leaves and parchment to really lock in the flavor then tie it off with a string.(some people use only parchment and that is fine but it will be lacking the green banana leaf flavor, and on the same note you can omit the parchment but I have found that the banana leaf gets drowned and it looses some of its green - this way it gets all held together nicely)
Several weeks later you have made a few.
Boil them in salty water in a big pot for at least an hour.
While they are still way too hot to eat, put one on a plate and burn your fingers trying to unwrap it, after it is unwrapped drizzle some louisiana hot sauce on it and plunge your fork into it and then straight to your mouth while it is still molten and you burn your lips, your tongue and the roof of your mouth because you are too impatient to wait a few more minutes. They firm up as they cool and they re-heat in the microwave or a quick steaming and keep their firmer look, these were oozing hot and I simply could not wait!
Posted by Christo Gonzales at 2:24 PM