Tamal en Cazuela

A variation of tamales, in tamal en cazuela, a traditional Cuban dish, the pork and corn are simmered together until thickened.


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder (or pork loin), diced into bite-size pieces
  • 2 lbs baby corn , or tender corn kernels
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 6 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  •  cup fresh bitter orange juice (or 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice mixed with 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil , or corn oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 1 green pepper , chopped
  • 4 ajis cachuchas (sweet Cuban peppers), seeded and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (passata)
  •  cup vino seco (Cuban dry cooking wine)
  • 3 tablespoons harina fina (finely ground yellow cornmeal)
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley , finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro , finely chopped


  • Blender
  • Dutch oven


  • Place the pork into a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, mix together the garlic, salt, oregano and cumin to make a paste, then add the bitter orange (or orange or lime) juice. Pour the entire contents of the bowl over the pork.
  • Cover with cling film and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
  • In the bowl of a blender, mix together 3 cups (750 ml) of water and the corn to make a smooth purée, adding a little more water if necessary.
  • Remove the pork from the marinade, and dry on paper towels. Reserve the marinade.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil then add the pieces of pork in a single layer, spacing them out a bit.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, and brown the pork on all sides for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • When it is golden, remove the pork and set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven, pour the remaining water and add the onion, bell pepper and Cuban peppers. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, until the onion and peppers are softened.
  • Add the meat, tomato sauce, wine, reserved marinade, and the corn purée.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cornmeal, mix well, then reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pot and simmer gently, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, until the corn thickens to a mushy consistency.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • To serve, pour the tamal into a shallow dish or large soup bowl.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and cilantro, and enjoy immediately.