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Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside. Remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool. You are now ready to assemble and wrap the pasteles. Prepare a work surface to assemble and wrap the pasteles.

If you have friends helping you, set up an assembly line. For each pastel, lay out a piece of parchment paper, topped with one piece of banana leaf. Brush achiote oil in a rectangle shape on the center of the banana leaf.

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Bring the edges of the banana leaf over the top of the pork filling. Then repeat with the other side of the banana leaf so that the masa completely covers the top of the filling. Bring the top and bottom edges of the parchment paper over the top, fold or roll down the edges to make a horizontal seam.

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Tuck the ends under. Tie with a string in both directions. At this point, you can freeze any pasteles you are not going to cook and eat right away.

Place them in zip-top bags, date, label, and freeze. Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Professional chefs bemoan the fact that many Puerto Ricans, my relatives included, have grown accustomed to using artificial flavors and seasonings as shortcuts to speed up cooking time.

But some also note that the talent found in private kitchens is to blame for the scarcity of Puerto Rican restaurants. Trim excess fat from chicken, and reserve 1 or 2 pieces of fat.

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In a large saucepan, combine chicken, stock, 1 sprig cilantro and 1 bell pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. To prepare sofrito: In a blender, combine remaining bell pepper, sweet chili peppers, remaining sprig of cilantro, onion and garlic cloves. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons water, and process until pureed. Set aside. Place a large cast-iron casserole over medium-high heat. Add corn oil, ham and chicken fat.

Traditional Puerto Rican Pasteles

Saute until ham is browned, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and discard fat. Add sofrito, and stir for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, Sazon seasoning, olives and capers. Mix well and season to taste with salt. Transfer chicken pieces to casserole; reserve broth in saucepan. Mix, turning chicken to coat it well with sauce. Transfer chicken to a large plate, and set aside.

Add rice to casserole. Add just enough broth to barely cover it. Discard peppers. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

A Puerto Rican Easter feast

Cover pan and cook until rice has absorbed broth, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir mixture, and again add enough broth to just cover rice. Cover pan, and simmer until broth is absorbed, about 20 minutes more. Add any remaining broth or water until rice is soft. Place chicken pieces on top of rice in casserole, cover, and allow chicken to reheat.

Puerto Rican Cuisine: A Background

Place a generous portion of rice on each plate, and top with a piece of chicken. Garnish with pimento strips, and serve. Prepare adobo spice mixture: In a small bowl, combine cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt.

Steps to Make It

Preheat oven to degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add potatoes and fry, stirring, until well browned. Use a slotted spatula to transfer potatoes to baking sheet to drain briefly. Discard paper towels and transfer potatoes to oven to keep warm. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over a slice of beef, and pound thin. Somewhere in between a soup and a stew. Think of this as Puerto Rico's tastier version of eggnog. The chicken is so tender it practically falls off the bone. What it is: A flavorful salad made with cod and a variety of other ingredients like eggs and tomatoes. Salted cod aka bacalao gives this salad an intense flavor you either like or hate. But those who like it, love it. Crispy skin. Tender meat. What could be better?

What it is: Kind of like a tamale, but made with plantain and taro instead of masa, then wrapped in a banana leaf instead of corn husk. If you like tamales, you'll probably like pasteles. Posted on October 13, , GMT.