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Andrea Lizcano’s Abuelita’s Hallaca Recipe


Banana Leaves – Hojas
1 package frozen banana leaves

Achiote Oil
2 cups vegetable oil
3.5 oz achiote seeds

6 cups chicken broth
3 pounds cubed chicken
1 cup achiote oil
1/2 cups sweet marsala wine or sweet Porto wine
3 tablespoons harina P.A.N.

1 yellow onion chopped
1 leek chopped
4 scallions chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
½ cup chopped red bell pepper chopped
1 tablespoon capers drained

4cups chicken broth
1 cup achoite oil
1 cup harina p.a.n.

Yellow onions cut into rings
Red bell pepper strips
Chick peas
Black raisins
Manzanilla olives stuffed with pimiento
Italian Mix Giardiniera pickles chopped finely
Chicken breast, cut in thin strips


Banana Leaves – Hojas
Clean and Remove the center stem (la vena) from the leaves, to make the folding process easier. When removing the stem be careful not to break the leaf.

Achiote Oil
Carefully heat oil in a medium saucepan at medium heat, when the oil is hot add achiote seeds. Let achiote seeds and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Don’t let the oil boil. Remove from the stove and let cool.

Strain out the seeds.. Reserve

Sofrito In a saute pan heat ½ cup achote oil over medium heat add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes,. Then add the leeks and green onion; continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic; mix to combine and cook until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. Finally, add the bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Pulse gently in a food processor, remove to bowl and stir in capers.

Meat Filling – Guiso
In a large pot add broth and cut up chicken. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. reduce heat to medium low and simmer .Add sofrito to the pot with the meat and broth. Mix well and let it cook for 5 – 8 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk sweet wine and Harina P.A.N. until smooth, then add the wine mixture to the chicken .cook until thick. The guiso must be thick, not runny so if needed you can dissolve more Harina P.A.N in the broth and add it to the guiso to thicken.

Turn off the heat and let the guiso cool.

Dough – Masa
In a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1 cup harina P.A.N. , ½ to one cup as needed cups of achiote oil; and 1 cup broth mix well. Slowly add the Harina P.A.N. Mix with your hands. Continue mixing until all the oil has been incorporated. Taste and add more salt if needed. If the dough is too pale you can add more achiote oil to add more color.

Let rest 5 minutes to thicken.

This dough should have a smooth, you going to spread it onto the banana leaf with a spoon. If it is too soft add a little more of Harina P.A.N; if too hard add a little more broth.

Assemble Hallacas
Place a large banana leaf over a flat surface. Make sure the leaf vein is horizontal to make the folding process easier.

Spread, in the middle of the leaf, with a spoon ½ cup of dough

Then top with 1/3 cup of guiso

Then top with 2 strips of red pepper and 3 chickpeas

Close the hallacas. Fold the banana leaf to close the hallacas like a burrito. Then, wrap again in another banana leaf.

Then, tie with twine and wrap with aluminum foil

Cook Hallacas
Fill 3/4 of a large pot with water .add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil.

When the water is boiling, add as many hallacas. They must all be completely submerged in the water, and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove them and unwrap and enjoy