If you grew up in Hawaii or anywhere near a population of Puerto Rican families you probably love Pasteles. If you’re not familiar with a Pastele, in simplest terms it’s what Tamales are to Mexican cuisine. The difference is that the masa for a Pastele is made from green banana, plantain and taro root instead of corn. Well the filling is quite different too. They’re usually a lot more moist than a traditional tamale and filled with amazing flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great Tamale, they’re just harder to find. The best one I’ve ever had was from a street vendor in Puerto Vallarta Mexico’s old town. She was cooking and selling them on the side of street, 3-4 blocks up from one of the beaches. We kept walking until we didn’t see anymore tourists to find the real good stuff.
I grew up eating these and continue buying them from local street vendors. Sometimes they sell spicy and mild ones. In Hawaii they’re usually wrapped in Ti Leaf, then wrapped with foil for warming up at home. Traditionally they’ll be wrapped in banana leaf and tied. The best is when you find more than 2 whole pitted black olives in them. If you know, you know what I’m talking about. If not I suggest you search high and low to find some fresh made Pasteles. It’s worth it. Or you just make Pastele Stew and load it up with black olives like we do.
I have family members that make them but it’s a very rare thing since it takes a lot of work. Most of the time when they’re made it’s a family affair since you want to make a lot at one time. This is where our Pastele Stew comes into play. You can make it rather quickly and enjoy the flavors sooner rather than later, without going through the process of making complete Pasteles.
Pastele Stew Recipe:
- 4-6 lbs pork butt/shoulder cubed into 1″ cubes. Cut away some fat and put it in your pot to fry and render the fat to fry the rest of your pork brown and crispy.
- 1 Large Sweet Onion Chopped
- 2 Red or Green Bell Peppers Chopped
- 2 Cans Tomato Sauce
- 2 Cans of Med-Lg pitted black olives
- 1 Large Bunch Fresh Cilantro Chopped
- 4 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Shot of Scotch, Whiskey or Bourbon
- 2.5 oz ( 1/2 bottle of Adoboloco Jalapeno )
- Achiote Powder, in some stores it’s called Annatto ( I use powder instead of oil since we’re using the pork fat )
- Salt & Pepper to taste
If you need to make this quick you can skip the frying of the pork, but as you know everything fried tastes better. :)
- Cut the pieces of fat into small chunks and on a low heat let them fry and render out the fat. You’ll end up with small crispy chicharones that you add back into the stew.
- Remove chicharones and save to the side
- Fry your pork in two batches. If you’re patient you don’t need to pour any liquid out of the pot, the liquid from the pork will evaporate and then you get a good fry going
- With a slotted spoon remove your crispy browned pork and save to the side
- Remove some of the oil left in the pot if you’d like at this time
- Put all of your chopped vegetables into the pot to saute
- Once the vegetables start to soften pour in the 2.5 oz of Adoboloco Jalapeno Sauce and saute a bit more
- Add your pork back in and start combining everything by mixing it around so the vegetables coat all of the pork
- Add the shot of Scotch, Whiskey or Bourbon
- Add the tomato sauce ( rinse back and fourth between the cans with about 1/2 a cup of water and pour into the pot )
- Pour in the drained olives
- Add the chicharones back
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Bring to a boil, turn off the stove and let it cool. Refrigerate until the next day to serve. If you don’t have the time to let it sit and marry, you can serve immediately, it’ll still taste good, just not as good :)
Serve with steamed Jasmin rice, garnish with cilantro and slather with your favorite Adoboloco Sauce.
Other ways to enjoy Pastele Stew:
- ~ Pastele Moco ( In a bowl, rice, 2 scoops Pastele Stew and fried eggs on top. )
- ~ Pastele Omelet ( Make a simple omelet and and pour Pastele Stew over the top. )
- ~ You can add chunks of Taro or Potato to your stew instead of serving it over rice
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