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Venezuela Christmas Recipes

By Joune Subscribe to RSS | December 15th 2011 | Views:
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A typical Venezuela Christmas recipe is the hallaca, which is their luxurious dinner. It is a mixture of beef, pork, capers, raisins and olives that is wrapped in maize, wrapped up in plantain leaves with string and steamed afterwards. This is the meal that is traditionally served in Venezuela during the Christmas holiday.

There is a popular myth which holds that it was common practice for the plantation owners to donate their leftover Christmas food scraps-usually bits of pork and beef to their slaves, who would then wrap them in cornmeal and plantain leaves for subsequent preparation and cooking.

There are other Venezuela Christmas recipes but the hallaca is one of the most traditional and its preparation is practically limited to that time of the year. It is still prepared in a very similar fashion to colonial times with some modern refinements-the hallaca is also considered one of the most representative icons of Venezuelan multicultural heritage. The reason for this is because its preparation includes European ingredients such as raisins, nuts and olives-this is in addition to indigenous ingredients such as corn meal colored with annatto seeds; and also African ingredients such as smoked banana or plantain leaves that are used for wrapping.

The traditional hallaca is made by extending a plantain leaf, greasing it with a spoonful of annatto-colored cooking oil and spreading it on a round portion of corn dough, which is then sprinkled with pieces of stewed meat, raisins, nuts, pepper filled olives and sometimes boiled eggs. It is then wrapped in an oblong and tied with string in a square mesh before it is cooked in boiling water. When it is done it is picked from the pail with a fork, unwrapped and served on its own plantain leaves with chicken salad or plain bread.

After making the required amount of hallacas, the left over ingredients are mixed together to make a dough. The dough then undergoes the same hallaca wrap cooking preparation. These are smaller in size and fewer in number. The result in this most traditional of Venezuela Christmas recipes is the bollo, this is offered as a lighter portion to the hallaca at lunch or dinner.

Hallacas are made in large quantities and they require lots of preparation. This Christmas recipe (christmas recipe 2012) is made by the whole family-the preparation is a celebration and also a reason for reuniting family members at Christmas time, having mothers and grandmothers in the lead role. Traditional music and drinks add to the festive atmosphere. It is quite normal for families, neighbors and friends share several different hallacas as a way to evaluate the skills of their Christmas recipe in the making. Another tradition is to offer them to any visitor.

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