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Nicaragua 2019 - Recipes

Nacatamales: Nicaraguan tamales Sopa de chayote: Chayote squash soup

Yield: 12 tamales

2 cups distilled white vinegar, divided
3 Tablespoons paprika
1½ teaspoons dried oregano leaves
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup orange juice
½ cup lime juice
3 pounds boned pork shoulder, or butt, cut into 1 x 2-inch chunks

2½ pounds (about 6) potatoes, peeled, sliced crosswise into ¼ inch thick circles, with each circle then cut in half
12 canned hot yellow chile peppers, drained
12 pitted prunes
72 small pimiento-stuffed Spanish style olives
¼ cup raisins
salt and pepper
3 cups mint leaves, lightly packed, rinsed, and drained
2 large onions, trimmed and each sliced into 6 (¼ inch thick) circles
2 green bell peppers, trimmed, seeded and each sliced into 6 (¼ inch thick) rings
2 large tomatoes, trimmed and each sliced into 6 (¼ inch) circles

2½ cups long grain rice

Masa (recipe below)

Prepare the marinade a day in advance: In small bowl, combine ½ cup vinegar, paprika, oregano, garlic, and cumin. Stir to mix well. Transfer paprika mixture to large resealable plastic bag, and add remaining 1½ cups of vinegar, the orange juice, and the lime juice. Close bag and shake to mix well. Add meat chunks, close the bag, and carefully shake to coat all the meat with marinade. Turn bag several times to coat meat well. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag several times.

Soak rice: Put rice in medium bowl, cover with water by 1 inch, and set aside to soak at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in strainer.

Prepare masa (recipe follows)

Prepare to assemble: For each tamale, put 1 large piece of aluminum foil on your work surface. Spoon ¼ cup prepared masa onto the center of foil. Pat to flatten slightly. Poke 1 chile pepper, 1 prune, and 6 olives into the masa, and cover with ¼ cup rice. Top with 1 tablespoon of raisins. Place 5 or 6 potato slices around edge of masa. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Using a slotted spoon or tongs, divide your marinated pork into 12 equal portions. Place one portion of meat on top of the rice, and spoon 1 tablespoon of marinade onto meat. Discard remaining marinade. Place 3 to 4 mint leaves on the meat. Stack 1 slice each of onion, bell pepper, and tomato on top of each mint leaf.

Carefully enclose the filling and fold the foil edges together to seal in the ingredients and make the tamale “wrap” waterproof. Repeat, assembling the remaining 12 tamale wraps.

Place or stack the tamale wraps in a large saucepan. Put a heatproof plate on top to keep tamale wraps from floating. Fill pan with enough water to cover tamale wraps. Bring water to boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 45 minutes. Add more hot water if necessary, to keep the tamale wraps immersed. Reduce heat to simmer, cover pan, and cook for 1 hour more. Check water level frequently, adding more water when necessary to keep the tamale wraps covered.

Remove tamale wraps with slotted metal spoon or tongs. Drain well.

To serve, place each wrapped nacatamal on a plate, with the seam side up, so that the tamales can be easily opened and eaten while the contents are still warm.

Nicaragua 2019 - Recipes

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