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Recipe Puerto Rican Pasteles

Recipe Puerto Rican Pasteles

Recipe Puerto Rican Pasteles


2 lbs pork shoulder, cubed

½ cup fresh sofrito, divided

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon (2 packets) sazón

1 teaspoon adobo

½ cup tomato sauce

2 cups water

1-2 dried bay leaves

1/4 cup sliced green olives (optional)

For annatto oil

½ cup vegetable or sunflower oil

2 tablespoons whole annatto seeds

For the masa

10-12 very green bananas

1 cup fresh pumpkin, cubed

1 cup fresh yuca or taro root, cubed

¼ cup annatto oil

1 cup pork broth

1 tablespoon sazón

½ tablespoon adobo

For shaping

24 12 in x 6 in sheets of parchment paper

24 6 in x 3 in sheets of banana leaves

Cooking twine



Gather ingredients for the filling.

  1. Clean the pork shoulder with vinegar and water, making sure to rinse the pork well. Cut the pork into small cubes, then place in a large bowl.

  2. Add ¼ cup sofrito, lime juice, sazón, and adobo to the bowl. Mix well, then store in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

  3. To cook the filling, place a deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add 1-2 tablespoons of any mild cooking oil (vegetable or sunflower) and the remaining ¼ cup of sofrito. Sauté for a few minutes before adding the marinated pork.

  4. After a few minutes of sautéing the cubed pork, or when the pork is about 70% cooked, add the tomato sauce, water, olives, and dried bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

  5. While the pork is simmering, prepare the annatto oil by boiling the vegetable oil and annatto seeds for 20 minutes, or until the oil is tinted red.

  6. Once the pork has simmered and cooked all the way through, remove from the heat and reserve one cup of the liquid, and strain over a sieve to use in the masa.

  7. To make the masa, clean and peel the bananas, pumpkin, and taro root. Cut the raw vegetables into large chunks and place the pieces in a bowl of salted water until you are ready to grate them. Grate the vegetables either by hand or using the grater attachment in an electric mixer, then add the shredded vegetables to a food processor bowl and blend until you have a smooth paste.

  8. Add the blended vegetable masa to a large bowl, then mix in ¼ cup of annatto oil, sazón, adobo, and pork broth. Make sure the masa is well-combined, then set aside to prepare the wrapping tools. At this point, you can store the masa and pork filling in the fridge for up to 24 hours and wrap the pasteles the following day.

  9. Before wrapping the pasteles, cut the sheets of parchment paper and banana leaves into the appropriate sizes.

  10. To wrap the pasteles, start with a single sheet of parchment paper, then add a sheet of banana leaf on top. Brush the center of the banana leaf with annatto oil, then add ¼ cup of masa to the oiled section. Scoop 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of the masa, then fold the banana leaf in half.

  11. With the banana leaf still folded in half, fold the parchment paper in half as well so that the pastel is perfectly centered on the crease. Fold the kissing ends of the parchment paper down length-wise until they’ve reached the pastel. Fold the ends of the parchment paper around the back of the pastel, then secure the folded parchment paper with cooking twine. At this point, you can either freeze the pasteles or prepare them.

  12. To prepare, bring a pot of salted water to boil, then add the pasteles and reduce to a simmer for about an hour. After an hour, carefully remove the pasteles from the hot water using tongs and place them in a colander for a few minutes to remove any excess water from within the folds.

  13. Place the cooked pastel on a plate, still secured, then cut the twine and unwrap the parchment paper and banana leaf. Serve with white rice or arroz con gandules and enjoy!


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