Alcapurrias

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Appetizers, Food Journal

Alcapurrias

Alcapurrias – (alcapurrias recipe and video follow) – OK, I have been getting a lot of requests for this one so I’m going to do it….. although I was totally going to do it anyway :) because I love alcapurrias. This is yet another one of those delicious Puerto Rican foods that I am hopelessly addicted to. I think one of the things that I really love about them is all of the memories that I have associated with them. My awesome mother-in-law makes them every Christmas and then at some of the random family gatherings too. When we show up at the house, we are always welcomed by Salsa Music and the smell of Puerto Rican food. Sometimes my father-in-law, Carlos, is even playing along to the music on his Congas. If you get the smell of the alcapurrias and the sound of the Congas together, you know it’s going to be an extra special night full of remanissing about the island and looking at pictures because they are in “island mode”- I love it! Anyway, I always head straight for the kitchen – that’s where you generally find everybody (there and the pool if it’s hot out). But either way, Mirta (my mother-in-law) is always in the kitchen cooking up something amazing. I love to help her because one, I love to cook, and two, because whoever is in the kitchen helping gets to snack on the food while we cook. And this is super important if you want to actually get to eat one of the alcapurrias because they go FAST. Yes, she makes enough for everyone. But the alcapurrias never make it to the dinner table – or really to a plate of any sort. It’s more like as they finish cooking, one by one they are handed out on napkins and eaten. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been there and seen a stack of them on a plate. They are always taken as they cook. It’s funny too, well, and a little sad because there is always someone who shows up in the kitchen too late to find that the last one has been eaten and no one saved them one. So sad. But, I digress. Anyway, for this recipe I’m going to give you a few choices of how to flavor your masa. I like mine all of these ways but usually do them the “au natural” way – my husband loves them like this because it “tastes like Puerto Rico” to him – of course, I agree.


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Yield 18-20 large alcapurrias
(you can easily cut this recipe in half if you want)

Ingredients for the Masa
3 pounds tarro root
1 1/2 pounds yucca
2 green plantains
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

Choice of one of these ways to flavor the masa
1/4 cup annoto oil (achoite oil)
optional 2 teaspoons coriander
or
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 packages of sazzon
or
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder

For the Filling
1/2 cup of raisins soaked in rum for 2-3 hours
1 cup sofrito (the fresh one that I make)
1/4 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 ounce tocino
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
10 olives, minced
1 teaspoon capers (optional)


Instructions
1. Start with the tarro root. Slice off both ends and peel it. Place it into a large bowl of cool, salted water. This will keep it from discoloring. Next, slice off both ends of the yucca. Cut it long ways down the middle and then remove the stem/root thing that grows down the middle (see video). Place the yucca in the bowl with the tarro root. Lastly, peel the plantain. It is easiest to do this by cutting off both ends and then making a cut down the peel long ways and pulling the peel off.
2. Next, use the small side of a box grater to grate the taro root, the yucca, and the plantain. As you grate them, put them into a bowl with a piece of plastic wrap directly on top. Again, to keep them from discoloring.
3. Add the flavorings that you choose to the masa. Mix the masa until all of the ingredients are well combined. I use my hands to do this.
4. Cover the masa first with a piece of plastic wrap directly on top, and then another to cover the bowl. This will help prevent it from picking up any “refrigerator tastes”. Allow the masa to set up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. If you can do it overnight, it is better. Allowing it to set makes it easier to work with. Also, remember that your raisins (for the filling) need to soak in rum for at least 2 hours. They can soak longer, no problem.
5. Now it is time to make the meat filling. Start off with a little olive oil in the pan and turn your heat on medium high. Saute the sofrito in the olive oil with a little bit of Kosher Salt and pepper. Add all of the meats. Sprinkle with a little Kosher Salt and pepper. When the meat starts to turn brown with still a little pink (when it’s parcooked), add the oregano, olives, raisins and capers if you’re using them. Continue cooking the filling until the meat is done.


6. To fill the alcapurrias, flatten a small amount of the masa in your hand. Relax your fingers so that they form a cup/bowl for the filling. Place the filling in the middle of the masa. Fold it over kind of like a clam and seal “the clam” closed (see video). Roll it around gently in your hand and repair any holes with additional masa.
7.
At this point, you can freeze your alcapurrias for later. If you don’t want to freeze them, it is time to fry them.
8. You can use a deep fryer or a deep pan on the stove. I use canola oil to fry mine and I fill the pan so that the oil will go just past half way up the alcapurria. The oil should be around 350°F for a fresh alcapurria and around 325°F if you froze your alcapurrias.
9. Cook them until they are golden brown on all sides rotating as necessary. Remove the alcapurrias from the oil and place them on a sheet pan or plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Immediatly sprinkle them with iodized salt.
10.
Let them cool for a few minutes – they will be HOT. Now it’s finally time to enjoy your delicious alcapurrias!

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