Panamanian Style Tamale Casserole (Tamal de Olla Estilo Panameño)

    Panamanian Style Tamale Casserole (Tamal de Olla Estilo Panameño) Recipe
    Melissa Guerra

    Popular in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, the recipe for tamal de olla varies from country to country. Panama’s traditional tamal de olla features a sweet and savory mix of raisins, olives, capers and vinegar, ingredients that hint to the Middle Eastern flavors the Spanish brought with them.

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    Ingredients
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    For the Sofrito
    1
    pound
    onions, roughly chopped
    2
    ribs celery, roughly chopped
    1
    bell pepper, roughly chopped
    For the Masa (Dough)
    1
    pound
    harina de maiz (use pre-cooked variety such as Goya or P.A.N. brands)
    6
    cups
    water
    2
    teaspoons
    salt
    3
    corns on the cob
    1/2
    cup
    Olive Oil
    1
    tablespoon
    vinegar
    1
    teaspoon
    fresh oregano
    *
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    For the Filing
    2
    tablespoons
    vegetable oil
    4
    pounds
    pork, not too lean, with visible fat, cut into chunks
    1
    cup
    golden raisins
    1
    cup
    olives stuffed with pimentos
    1/2
    cup
    capers
    Directions
    Step 1
    In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the pork chunks and cook over medium heat until well browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
    Step 2
    Heat the olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet. Add the chopped onions, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes.
    Step 3
    Once the vegetables are well cooked, process them briefly in a food processor until a puree.
    Step 4
    Return the puree to the skillet. Add the vinegar and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Step 5
    Roughly chop the cooked pork in the food processor, mincing into 1/2-inch pieces.
    Step 6
    Add the pork to the sofrito, simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    Step 7
    Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked meat from the pan, and place in a clean bow, add filling ingredients. Reserve the cooking liquid in the pan to make the masa, pouring it into a large glass measuring cup.
    Step 8
    Add enough water to the reserved cooking liquid to equal six cups of liquid total.
    Step 9
    In a separate bowl, prepare the masa by pouring in the harina de maiz. Add the reserved cooking liquid/water one cup at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
    Step 10
    Add the salt. The masa will need to be the consistency of mashed potatoes. If mixture is too lumpy, use an electric hand mixer to help break up the lumps.
    Step 11
    Once masa is the right consistency, stir in the corn kernels.
    Step 12
    Preheat your oven to 350°F. Using a bit of olive oil, grease the interior of a 3 1/2 quart casserole dish.
    Step 13
    Pour half of the masa mixture into the casserole, spreading it across the entire bottom of the pan in an even layer.
    Step 14
    Spread all of the meat mixture in an even layer on top of the masa layer, then add the remaining masa, making sure the masa reaches all edges of the casserole.
    Step 15
    Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
    Step 16
    Remove from the oven and cool briefly before serving.
    Sourcing:
    Check availability right flour for the top cornmeal crust in your local Latin American market or online.
    Photos

    Nutrition Facts

    Serving Size: 
    1 1/2 to 2 cups
    Serving Per Recipe: 
    8
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    No votes yet
    105 mins
    Prep Time: 
    45 mins
    Cook Time: 
    60 mins
    Enter Quantity
    The base number of servings for this recipe is 8
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