Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tamal en Cazuela

My grandmother was crowned the queen of Cuban tamales by those who knew her, but growing up I didn't like tamales. Later as an adult, even though I learned to appreciate my abuela's tamales, I preferred tamal en cazuela. 

I decided to make this dish vegetarian although it traditionally calls for pork and/or chorizo. Knowing my meat loving family, I've prepared pork in the slow cooker to add to their bowls of my vegetarian cornmeal.

For the cornmeal:
1 cup ground yellow cornmeal
6 cups cold water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons salt

In a large pot over medium heat combine the cornmeal, water, oil and salt. Whisk until the mixture starts to thicken.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened about 30 minutes.

For the sofrito:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
10-12 piminto stuffed olives (optional)

In a large skillet  heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sautee your oinions, peppers and garlic, stirring until the onion is tender about 8 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cumin. Simmer 30 mintues, stirring frequently.

Add the tomato mixture and olives to the cooked cornmeal. Blend well.

For the pork:
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut into bite size pieces (this dish is eaten with a spoon)
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
dash of cumin
drizzle of olive oil

Put all these ingredients into a slow cooker and walk away.


  1. I know I've heard of this, but never actually had it. I really enjoy tamales, although mine might be different from yours.
    This looks really good, though!

  2. oh wow, since turning vegetarian I have had to say no to tamales, but I'm interested to try your recipe. I will be marking it as a favorite

  3. I was certain my American husband wouldn't go for it, but he asked me today if there was any leftover for lunch.

  4. I've never had Cuban tamales, this looks awesome! We love tamales in this household, but I usually don't make them because it's so time consuming. I want some of yours! Yum!

  5. My grandmother tamales are honestly the best (at least within our family, and even my friends world).

    Though my husband does like the traditional Cuban tamale, I think he would like this version better.

  6. LOL Sabrina, we all think our grandmothers make the best food! We'll have to hope that in the future our grandchildren (if we're lukcy to have them) will think the same of our cooking.

    My American husband preferred this to the traditional tamal. Thanks for commenting! :)

  7. I haven't made Tamal en Cazuela in a very long time. My mother's recipe called for crabmeat instead of pork, but my adult daughter is vegetarian, so I'm really looking forward to trying your recipe. Thanks

  8. Anonymous, you're welcome. Hope you and your daughter like it.

    I've never had it with crab meat although I know of a recipe for it, and considering I love crab, I may have to make it soon. :)

  9. I'm serving this as a main dish w/ Black beans and rice and a veggie. How many does this recipe serve?

  10. Anonymous, I can't say for certain, it depends on the serving size, but I would say 6-8.

  11. I can't believe I had missed this post :) in my house Tamal en Cazuela was always done with crab legs, or with shrimp. Here's the recipe with crab legs:

    I do know the pork version is the most known though and am excited to try it someday :)

  12. There is a difference, one is called Harina con cangrejos, (corn meal)... Tamal is made with sweet fresh corn if available, both are great. This is what I know.. You can substitute and combine both but I feel corn meal is drier than using fresh corn grinded like a paste. They call it tamal en cazuela because is not wrapped in corn leaves.. that will be a tamal..Tamal en Cazuela is without the leaves and they are both delicious..:)