The Venezuelan Hallaca

One of recognized plates in the Venezuelan gastronomy is without doubt the Hallaca. This masterpiece of our cooking one is most traditional of the plates in the the Christmas season in  Venezuela.
The hallaca is the result of the historical process that our society has lived. From its cover made of banana leaves to the details that adorn and compose their stew, and the most fundamental ingredient, the mass of corn flour and colored with “onoto” , the hallaca is the most visible expression of the mixing of races of the Venezuelan.
Each ingredient has its roots: the banana leaf, used by the African black as well as by the American Indian, to wrap the hallaca, when you unwrap the hallaca you will be in front of our indigenous past, because the masa made of corn flour ande colored with onoto, with that s magnificent yellow color; then, in its interior we can appreciate the arrival of the Spaniards to this land,  hen, pork and caw, olives, capers, raisins鈥 all mincemeat finely, stews and wonderfully distributed are part of exquisite manjar.
The hallaca’s ingredients came from differents roots and  they  are complemented harmoniously in the hallaca, expression of the colorful mestization and del that is part our history. The word ” Hallaca” it comes from the guaran铆 and it derives from the word ” ay煤a” or ” ayuar” that it means to mix or revolver, of these words is presumed that ” ayuaca” it is a mixed thing, then by linguistic deformation step to be called ” ayaca”. Another version is conceited that the word comes from some native language of the West of the country, whose meaning is ” envoltorio- wrap”  or ” bojote”. Whatever is the origin of this word, we know that ” hallaca”  is 100% Venezuelan, no only by name, but by itds preparation and  pride of our kitchen.

The hallaca appears splendid in the Christmas table of all the Venezuelans as the queen of our Christmas dinner, without social distinctions. The cooking of the hallaca is also an important part of our Christmas celebration, when all family come together to prepare the hallacas at home, we also give some hallacas to our friends and family for everybody to taste.

There are many recipes for the hallacas, and this will varie depending of the region of the cuntry, and the flavour of the hallaca become local for everybody, who make it with the ingridients and seasons from each region.

1 1/2 kilo of bacon,
1 1/2 water cup and 2 teaspoons of salt ;
2 1/4 kilos of dry, clean and selected pounded white maize,
30 pounded maize cups spanish stew or 5 kilos of Mass of Maize;
3 cups of the broth where the hens cooked or of Consomme of Hen;
5 spoonfuls of salt;
6 spoonfuls of seeds of onoto.

The same day that prepares the stew, that is to say the day previous to the preparation of the mass and the hallacas, the pig butter is prepared with which it is going away to knead the mass. For it the picadito bacon with 1 1/2 is put in a kettle water cup and the 2 teaspoons of salt and cook until it gilds and no longer it produces more fat, about 30 minutes. The fat is strained through a wire strainer, is let cool and woman who hides herself with mantel leaves itself until the following day in a fresh place, not in refrigerator. 5 butter cups are obtained. 10. The same day also the maize cooks to make the mass. For it is chosen and the running water maize is washed very well until this one leaves is transparent. It is put in a pot, preferably of stainless steel, with sufficient water that covers about 10 centimeters. One takes to a fervor and one cooks by 25 to 28 minutes or until moderating just a little bit but conserving itself hard in center. One retires of the fire, one eliminates 1/4 to him 1/3 of the water that still it has and cold water is added to him again until taking it to its original volume and it is let cool in covered fresh site until the following day. 11. The day that is going away to prepare the hallacas puts the maize in a great strainer and it is washed well, squeezing it under running water. It is let slip very well and the dark tips, small pieces and rest of skin take off to him that still can have and that becomes more visible when cooking it. 12. One wears out with machine to grind maize with the mill then very tightened, for the hallacas, is desired that the mass is very fine. It is put aside. 13. Meanwhile in a kettle part of the butter is put, 2 cups, with onoto. One takes to a fervor, one cooks briefly and one goes out. The time essential must cook only to obtain a color dark caramel, because it must be avoided that onoto is burned. Hardly arrived at that point one retires of the fire and once obtained the wished color it is strained to eliminate grains of onoto. Part of that butter is going to be used to color the mass and starts off to lubricate the leaves. 14. In a table or table the worn out maize is put and to him they are gotten up, kneading it, the butter, 3 cups without coloring and 1 cup colored following the color that is desired the mass and the salt. Everything is united and kneaded very well. One again goes through the machine to grind maize to obtain a united good mass and compacts. Later the hen broth, 3 cups is gotten up to him, and it is kneaded again very well until the mass is smooth and compacts. It is put in a great tray and it is covered with a humid cloth.

PREPARATION OF THE ADORNMENTS OF THE FILLING OF THE HALLACAS INGREDIENTS 1 kilo of pimentones red; 3 spoonfuls of oil; 1/2 kilo of bacon; 150 grams of almonds, 2 by hallaca; 1/2 kilo of rather small onions; 2/3 of cup, 150 grams, from small capers, 4 to 5 by hallaca; 2 1/2 cups, 400 grams, of olives medians, 2 by hallaca; 2 1/4 cups, 1 box of 250 grams, of you happen without seeds, 8 to 10 by hallaca; 1/2 cup of vinegar pickles picaditos. All the adornments can get ready the eve and keep them in the refrigerator separately. 15. The furnace to 350 degrees is preheated. 16. They wash pimentones. They are dried. They are greased with the 3 spoonfuls of oil. They are put in a metal tray. They put in the furnace and they are hornean by 50 minutes or until they begin to gild, giving them returned from time to time. They remove from the furnace. They are placed on a humid good cloth. They become involved and when cooling they take off the skin to them and the seeds and are cut in plasters of 1 centimeter in width. 17. The bacon, already cooked, is cut in thin plasters of 4 to 5 centimeters in length. If the bacon has not cooked along with the pig, it is put in water with salt covers that it. One takes to a fervor and one cooks 7 minutes. One slips and it is let cool before cutting it. 18. They whiten or the skin to the almonds takes off. For it in a pot amount of water takes to a sufficient fervor covers that them. The almonds are added. Some seconds are left and without cooking they remove again. Still I warm up takes off the skin to them. 19. The onions are peeled. They are washed and they are cut in thin wheels. 20. The capers and olives slip. You happen are cleaned and any takes off to them palito that can have. The pickles slip and they are cut in small pieces. All the adornments are put separated, aside.

Good Eating!!!

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