Christmas Recipes

Costa Rican Christmas Tamale


2 pounds maize (corn flour)
2 pounds pork
2 pounds bacon
2 cups cooked, seasoned rice
ground chicharron (cracklings; fried pork skin)
several carrots
a few potatoes
sweet peppers
ground coriander
canned peas
salt, black pepper, cumin


Soak the flour in water and cook it with
a little salt one day before making the
tamales. Wash it thoroughly and change
the water. Let it stand overnight.

The next day, knead it into dough.

Boil the carrots, potatoes and meat in
separate pots, seasoning with black pepper,
cumin, coriander and salt.

Once this is done add the water from the
meat you just cooked to the dough until
you get an intermediate consistency. Also
add some salt and the potatoes, previously
mashed or pureed in a blender.

Wash the plantain leaves (you can substitute
banana leaves). Cut them into 16 by 14 inch
pieces. On each piece place two tablespoonfuls
of dough. On top of the dough place a
tablespoonful of rice, a piece of meat, some
chicharron, a slice or two of carrots, some
peas, coriander and a strip of sweet pepper.

Fold the leaf into a rectangular shape, making
sure no part of the tamal is exposed. Tie the
bundle carefully and securely with string.

The rest is easy. Just place them in salted,
boiling water for about one hour. Unwrap them
so you can get to one of the most typical and
delightful tastes of Costa Rica.

Try it and remember Costa Rica!

Note: Many variations exist on this basic recipe.

Different kinds of meat can be substituted
(shredded chicken breast and roast beef are two
favorites), and the flavor of the corn dough
can be enhanced greatly by adding a few minced
onions, some crushed garlic and maybe even
a little Tabasco sauce. In Costa Rica the basic
"seasoned rice" is rice cooked with minced onion,
diced sweet pepper, garlic, coriander and salt.

Added On: 2005-10-30
Submitted By: Cecelia Gonzalez
Filed under the following categories:
¬ Pork ¬ Dinner ¬ Holiday ¬ Latino

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