Venezuelan "Bollos Pelones"
Chef, Alejandra Schrader, prepares tasty Venezuelan dumplings.

Pork Stuffing:

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ½ medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock

Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 18 oz jar diced tomatoes
  • 12 oz jar sweet red pepper strips
  • 4 scallion whites, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup olive oil

Corn Masa:

  • 2.5 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups precooked corn flour (Harina PAN or Goya. Do not use Masa Harina)
  • ½ cup finely chopped curly parsley for garnish

Bollos Pelones - Home & Family


Pork stuffing

In a large cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown ground pork for a few minutes, breaking it apart with wooden spoon. Add ancho chili, paprika, curry, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Stir until pork has been well seasoned and all spices have incorporated with the mix. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and bell peppers and keep stirring. Dilute tomato puree in vegetable stock. Reduce heat to low and add mixture to the pan. Stir until mix is homogenous. Cover with lid and allow cooking for about 15 minutes, until pork has cooked completely. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Allow mixture to cool down. Pork stuffing may be made ahead and refrigerated.

Tomato-Red Pepper Sauce

In a food processor or large blender, mix tomatoes, red peppers, scallion whites, and garlic until all ingredients have incorporated. Then add cumin, paprika, curry, pepper, sugar, and salt; mix again. Add olive oil and mix until sauce is homogenous and has emulsified.

Place sauce in medium saucepan, cover with lid, and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove lid and allow sauce to reduce for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

Corn Masa

In a bowl, mix water, salt, and olive oil. Pour in flour slowly to avoid clumping and mix with a spoon until ingredients have incorporated. Let it stand for 5-7 minutes. Knead with hands until masa is shiny and no longer sticks to fingers. Divide masa in equal parts. Making sure your hands are slightly wet, make small balls—approximately 1.5 inches in diameter.

To make the Bollos Pelones

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add coarse sea salt.

Flatten each masa ball with your hands, making sure to wet the tips of your fingers so that the masa stays moist and does not break. The thickness of masa rounds should be about ½ inch.

Place 2 tbsp of pork stuffing in the center of each round and carefully begin to close into the shape of a ball to make each bollo or dumpling. Make sure that there are no holes so that the ball does not fall apart in the water. Wetting the tips of your fingers while making bollos will help with this process.

Once all bollos are completed, reduce heat to low and immerse them in water carefully. Allow cooking for about 20 minutes, making sure the water does not boil so that bollos don’t fall apart.

Carefully remove bollos from water using a slotting spoon and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.

Serve bollos on a plate on top of the tomato-red pepper sauce. Sauce may also be used to top bollos. Garnish with parsley.

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