Can you believe we’re almost finishing this year? When I start cooking our traditional Hallacas at home, I know it is Christmas time. The smell of all the flavours, ingredients, spices and freshness is something that I have loved since I was tiny.
This recipe is our family tradition, that came from my grandmother, passed to my mother and now me, in charge of making this beautiful plate at home. You must be wondering what are they, right? Venezuelan Hallacas are the traditional holiday tamales we prepare and eat on Christmas eve. They are a thin dough of corn stuffed with a chicken, pork (and sometimes spicy black beans) stew.
There are many versions of hallacas across our country, and we topped them with many ingredients, such as olives, raisins, potatoes, chickpeas, onions, and more. After adding delicious toppings, we wrap them in plantain leaves, we tie and then boil them.
I’m also going to show you my new favourite tools that are a must have in the kitchen – the KitchenAid cordless collection!
Making Hallacas can be a long process (that will require lots of patience) and I’ll give you all the tips how to prepare them from scratch at home, with the help of my KitchenAid Friends and their new cordless line I used during the entire process and 3 easy tips you need in your kitchen!
Are you ready?
have the right tools by your side
Growing up in a foodie family was my best school and seeing my mama in the kitchen inspired me so much. I remember when I first started helping her in the kitchen, she showed me how good tools were the essential of good cooking, and I couldn’t be more excited to learn about the new KitchenAid cordless appliances line!
For those with limited kitchen space and who wants to use tools on the go, the cordless suite of appliances by KitchenAid will be a game-changer when it comes to holiday cooking! You’ll need plenty of space and to move around cooking Hallacas, so trying the new 5 cup cordless food chopper was a dream!
This new cordless chopper works on 2 speed settings where you can mix, chop, puree and whip (for real!). The rechargeable battery on a full charge can chop up to 40 onions and the design is absolutely gorgeous in a beautiful blue velvet colour.
So, first things first: set yourself with the right kitchen tools to start, deal?
mise en place right before you start
This is the number one rule as soon you’re setting yourself up in the kitchen. Having a clean, organized working space can be achieved easily with a mise en place (and it looks so beautiful!). Just don’t think adding all these little bowls to be many dishes, just think that it is part of your cooking process and putting everything “in place”. This strategy will help you making cooking way way less stressful, promise.
How I do it? As a big bowl collector, I put all my different ingredients in them before I start cooking and place them on a baking tray (after you’re done, you can bring the tray to the sink and rise the whole tray!).
little tips that changed the way I cook
– Toss most of your spices if they don’t smell like anything (they probably won’t taste like anything!)
– Always have herbs in your pantry! They are the heart of each plate, I promise you.
– Make sure your kitchen work area is well lit, and use light when you’re cooking (you’ll thank me later)
– Use a compostable bowl on your pantry where you can easily trash all the food while cooking (no more walks to the composting bin!)
– Rule after you finish cooking: cool your food before putting it in the fridge or freezer (if you don’t, the temperature will rise and you’ll get mold).
Now! Time to cook our Hallacas! Hope you love them as much as we do!
Endless thanks to KitchenAid for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed here are entirely mine.
B A N A N A L E A V E S & A S S E M B L Y
- 5 banana leaves packs (frozen)
- heavy duty butcher twine
- 1/4 cup olive oil
M E A T S T E W
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp onoto (achiote seeds)
- 1 k chicken tights
- 1 k pork (with bone & fat)
- 1 spanish onion, chopped
- 1 leek, sliced and chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, fresh & chopped
- 4 cups boiled black beans
- 4 tbsp hot sauce
- 1/4 cup Heinz 57 sauce
- 5 dry bay leaf
- 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
- red cooking wine
D O U G H
- 1 1/2 package yellow Harina PAN
- chicken broth
- 1 cup achiote oil
T O P P I N G S
- Clean the banana leaves with a damp cloth and cut them carefully with scissors (careful not to break the leaf)
- Cut the leaves in squares of approximate 30x30cm size
- One night before, in a large pot with water add your chicken with salt and liquid chicken seasoning
- Using KitchenAid cordless food chopper, add olive oil, garlic, onions, peppers, leeks and chop until you see a soft mix. Add it to the chicken and let it boil for 25 minutes.
- In a large baking tray, add your pork, salt, 57 sauce, worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaf, pepper and olive oil. Set your oven to 350 and cook the pork for 45 minutes.
- After both are done, cut the meats in little cubes and mix them together in a large bowl.
- Using a large pan, add olive oil and onoto and wait until you see the oil turning into a yellowish/orange colour.
- All the remaining veggies you chopped earlier (as a sofrito) to the pot followed by the meats. Cook it for 10 minutes until it is mixed.
- Add 57 sauce, worcestershire sauce and finish with a drizzle of red wine.
- To make the spicy black bean stew, just mix the pork/chicken with black beans and top with hot sauce
- Turn off the heat and let the mix cool overnight.
- Using all your chicken broth, add to a large bowl your achiote oil, harina PAN and broth. Mix with your hands to remove lumps and until you see a formed dough
- Let it rest for 5 minutes to thicken
- Set aside
- Place a banana leaf on a flat surface and add a drizzle of oil
- Spread in the middle of the leaf your dough ball and press with a wooden presser until you have a flat dough
- Fill on top with your meat stew with a spoon
- Start adding the toppings of your choice: 2 olives, 6 raisins, 5 chickpeas
- To close the hallacas, take the top bottom edhes of the leaf and attach them together. Fold until it is completely sealed, followed by the two ends to the inside.
- Use a second banana leaf and repeat the same folding, to protect the hallaca.
- Tie the hallacas with heavy duty cooking twine, cross them two to three times (like wrapping a gift!)
- Using a large pot with water, add 2 tbs of salt and let it boil
- Add your hallacas and let them boil for at least 30 to 35 minutes
- Drain them and let them rest for 5 minutes before opening them