Mary's Homecoming Pasteles

Mary has been coming to Essex Street Market to forage for pastele fixings with her grandmother since she was 3 years old.

Serves 12 | Cook Time 2 hours


6 Tomatoes, Coarsely Chopped
1 Medium Green Pepper, Coarsely Chopped
1 Yellow Onion, Coarsely Chopped
½  Cup of Tomato Sauce
1 ½  Tablespoons of Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano

1/4 Cup of EVOO
8 Ounces of Slab Bacon, Rind Removed, ¼ - inch Cubes
1 ½  Pounds of Boneless Pork Shoulder, ½ - inch Cubes
¼  Cup of Chicken Broth
8 Garlic Cloves, Diced
20 Caribbean Sweet Peppers, Halved
¼  Cup of Chopped Cilantro

⅓  Cup of Whole Milk
1 ½  Pounds of Taro, Peeled, 1 - inch Cubes
1 ½  pounds Green Bananas, Peeled, Thickly Sliced
½  Green Plantain, Peeled, Thickly Sliced
8 Ounces Calabaza (pumpkin), peeled, seeded, 1 - inch Cubes
¼  Cup of EVOO
Salt to Taste

25 Banana Leaf Squares
¼  Cup EVOO
25, 42 - inch Pieces of Twine

⅓  Cup of Raisins
1 Can of chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed
50 Pimiento - Stuffed Olives

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside. 

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it begins to release its fat, about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the recado, reduce the heat to low, add garlic, peppers and cilantro, then continue to cook, covered, for about 50 minutes, or until the pork is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Add some chicken broth if the sauce thickens too much during cooking. When the meat is done, transfer it to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set the sauce aside. 

4. Working in 2 or 3 batches, puree the milk, malanga, green bananas, green plantain, and calabaza in a blender or food processor and pour into a large bowl. Add the oil and salt and mix well to color the masa evenly. Stir in the reserved sauce. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

5. Place one leaf square on a work surface with the veins perpendicular to you. Brush generously with oil. Place 3 heaping tablespoons of masa in the center of the leaf and spread into a 6-inch square, leaving a 3 - inch margin on all sides. Place 3 tablespoons of the diced pork on top, forming a rectangle. Garnish with 4 raisins, 4 chickpeas, a strip of red pepper, and 4 olive halves. Tie the pastel wrap.

6. Using two steamers (or working in batches), steam for about 1 hour

Make them ahead and freeze them.