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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon annatto seeds
1 pound yautia, peeled and chopped
1 medium green plantain peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sofrito
1 pound ground beef
1/2 packet Latin seasoning mix
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in dark Puerto Rican rum
Oil, for frying
In a small saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the annatto seeds until the olive oil changes color; it should be a mild orange/red. Strain and set aside.
Using a food processor, process the yautia and green plantain on medium speed until nice and smooth; add the salt and strained annatto oil. Now you have a fresh masa; place in the refrigerator.
Preheat a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sofrito. Stir-fry for 1 minute and add the ground beef. Brown the beef and add the Latin seasoning mix, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano mixing well. Add the beef stock and simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes. Remove the beef from the heat, strain the raisins and add them to the beef mixture mixing well. Set aside to cool.
Remove the masa from the refrigerator and using 1 to 2 tablespoons (depending on how large you want them) scoop out of the bowl and into the palm of your water moistened hand patting into a round disk to prepare it for the filling (the masa can be a little too pliable; if you notice that you can't form a round disk, place the masa in the refrigerator to firm it up before proceeding). Add a teaspoon or more of beef mixture to the center of the masa and using a patting motion (as if you were making a snow ball) pat the masa around the beef to form a ball being very careful not to let the beef stick out of the plantain. Continue forming the balls until both mixtures are finished. Leftovers of either can be saved for your next meal (I'll show you what to do with them in a future recipe).
Preheat a large Dutch oven on high and add enough oil to comfortably fry the Alcapurias (about 2 to 3 cups). (Heat the oil to 350 degrees F if you are frying them fresh; if frozen, lower the temperature to 325 degrees F.) When the oil has reached the desired temperature, carefully add the alcapurias 1 at a time making sure not to crowd the pan. Remove and drain on a thick bed of paper towels; transfer to a cooling rack once drained and store in a warm oven until you have completed frying them all.
To serve: Alcapurias can be placed on a dish and passed around to your guests or on a serving platter and placed on your buffet. They do not require a sauce, topping or dip of any kind. Their unique taste will carry them on your buffet all on their own!
Cook's note: These can be frozen for your next gathering by placing in single rows on a baking sheet and then in your freezer until they have been partially frozen. Remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a freezer bag until ready to fry.
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