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
- Coat bottom of pan with olive oil and set temperature to medium. Sauteé onions, garlic, peppers and tomatoes until soft.
- Dice the pork removing most of the fat.
- Add the pork to the onion mixture along with the saffron, black pepper, cumin and bay leaf. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add 4 cups of water and set temperature to Medium-High.
- Bring the mixture to boil and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the mixture turns yellow and the pork is fork tender.
- Add the yellow corn masa. Mix thoroughly.
- Add 4 cups of water. Leave on Medium-High for about 15 minutes.
- 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.