Venezuelan Hallacas enjoy international recognition. Their preparation and ingredients vary in each region of the country and each family adds its own personal touch.
It is a tradition to get together with the excuse of its preparation. There is no Christmas for Venezuelans without Hallacas. Here MeatTown explains the basic steps for its preparation: preparation of the stew, cleaning and preparation of the leaves, preparation of the dough, assembly, and cooking. Come on!
Ingredients to make the best Venezuelan Hallacas:
Ingredients For The Filling (Raw Stew)
4 1/2 lb beef
4 1/2 lb of pork or pork
2 1/2 lb bacon
2 onions, chopped in small cubes
6 sweet peppers, chopped into small pieces
2 medium red bell peppers, diced small
1 cup scallions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon pepper
1 1/2 and a half (25.4 oz) bottles of red cooking wine
12 lbs smoked plantain leaves
1 cup vegetable oil
Ingredients For The Dough
1 cup pork or pork lard (for cooking the onoto)
1 cup Onoto in grain (annatto, achiote)
3 packages (2 lbs. each) of pre-cooked white cornflour
15 cups of low-salt chicken broth
4 1/2 cups butter (9 sticks), at room temperature
Salt to taste
Ingredients To Assembly Hallacas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 medium onions, chopped in rings
3 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
4 cups parsley in sprigs
1 1/2 cups black raisins
2 cups chickpeas, cooked
1/2 cup capers
2 cups of olives stuffed with paprika (seeded)
2 packages of bacon, chopped into small pieces (2 inches)
1 roll of thread
Instructions for the preparation of Venezuelan Hallacas
Preparation of the stew:
Cut the meats (beef, pork, and bacon) into small pieces. Place everything in a large container with a lid or you can also use a large pot. Add the onion, sweet bell pepper, paprika, chives, and garlic. Season with oregano, salt, cumin, garlic powder, pepper, cooking wine, and vegetable oil. Mix well and leave to macerate preferably overnight in the refrigerator. Every so often stirs again with a wooden spoon and cover the pot to concentrate the flavor.
Preparation and cleaning of leaves
The leaves should be washed with water. Clean them very well with the help of a damp cloth and dry them with a dry cloth. You must divide the leaves into two types: one that is the main one (the biggest) which is where the dough and filling of the Hallaca goes, and the second leaf (smaller) which covers, closes, and protects the Hallaca at the time of cooking. The leaves come with a vein that prevents them from folding easily, you must remove it carefully with the help of a pair of scissors so as not to break them.
Preparation of the dough
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the lard and the onoto beans. Allow the butter to dissolve and the onoto to release its color. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl add the cornflour, and gradually add the chicken broth and the softened butter. Knead vigorously and add the butter and salt to taste. The dough should be smooth and yellow in color. Divide the dough into 50 balls of equal size.
Moisten a large sheet with a little vegetable oil. Place a ball of dough in the middle of a sheet. Roll out the dough in a circular shape with your hands until it is 1/4 inch thick. Place a tablespoon and a half of stew with juice in the middle of the dough. On top of the stew place 2 onion rings, 1 strip of paprika, a sprig of parsley, 3 raisins, 2 chickpeas, 2 capers, 2 olives, and a piece of bacon.
Proceed to fold the leaf
Take the wider edges and join them upwards. Create a fold until it is completely closed. Fold the other two ends inwards and wrap it with the smaller sheet. Tie the Hallacas with the wick previously cut into strips of about 1.5 meters long. Cross it three times in each direction (horizontal and vertical) and close with a knot or bow.
In a large pot bring 8 gallons of water to a boil over high heat.
Place the Hallacas and cook over medium heat covered for an hour and a half. Repeat the process with the rest of the Hallacas or you can use two pots at the same time.
Take them out and drain them, preferably in a vertical position.
Let them cool and refrigerate until use. Because the preparation is very laborious, it is customary to prepare large quantities. These Hallacas can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
When reheating the Hallacas, bring water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat.
Add the Hallacas you want (make sure the water covers them) lower the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Drain the Hallacas, cut the wick, remove the leaf and enjoy! If you want to get the best meats for your Hallacas this Christmas, do not hesitate to visit our website, MeatTown has the juiciest meats, to enjoy a Christmas full of flavor.