Monday, January 19, 2015

Tamal en Cazuela de Raquel (Cuban Cornmeal Casserole)

We had been wanting to learn how to make Tamal en Cazuela for a long time, and we finally found someone to teach us - Raquel! Raquel is a fabulous home cook, specializing in several Cuban dishes we want to learn to make - if we're lucky you'll be seeing more of her on this blog. As a bonus, her husband David likes to cook too and has some specialties of his own!

Arguably Tamal en Cazuela is the ultimate Cuban comfort food - it has everything required to make you feel happy. There's thick, warm cornmeal - kind of like grits but way more flavorful, there's the familiar flavor of the Cuban sofrito, and there's pork!

Now to get to the business at hand...


5 lbs Fresh Prepared Yellow Corn Masa* (see below)
4 lbs Cubed Pork Loin - diced
3/4 Medium Green Pepper - finely chopped
2 Large Yellow Onions - finely chopped
3 Small Tomatoes - diced
2 Heads of Garlic - minced
1 Tsp Cumin
3 Small Bay Leaves
3 Tblsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt to Taste (approximately 1 tsp)
Ground Pepper to Taste (approximately 1/4 tsp)
Pinch of Saffron or Other Yellow Food Coloring

* Prepared Yellow Corn Masa

If you're in South Florida, you can find this at a "Palacio de los Jugos" type of place. However, if you can't find the fresh prepared yellow corn masa, use 2 lbs dry cornmeal (follow package directions) and blend with three 14 oz cans of creamed corn.


This recipe makes approximately 10 servings
  1. Coat bottom of pan with olive oil and set temperature to medium. Sauteé onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes until soft.
  1. Dice the pork removing most of the fat.
  1. Add the pork to the onion mixture along with the saffron, black pepper, cumin and bay leaf. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  1. Add 4 cups of water and set temperature to Medium-High.
  1. Bring the mixture to boil and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the mixture turns yellow and the pork is fork tender.
  1. Add the yellow corn masa. Mix thoroughly.
  1. Add 4 cups of water. Leave on Medium-High for about 15 minutes.
  1. Taste and add salt to taste. Cover and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until it thickens (the texture will be similar to smooth grits or polenta - add water and continue cooking if needed).

The finished product!

Serve the Tamal en Cazuela with sweet fried plantains and some fresh Cuban bread for a hearty, filling meal.

¡Buen provecho!