Tuesday, October 31, 2023

25th Annual National Cuatro Festival


Tres Mujeres, Tres Estrellas

Saturday, November 18, 2025 @ 7pm
Harris Theater at Millennium Park, 205 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL


Welcome to the 25th Annual National Cuatro Festival!

The Cuatro is regarded as the national instrument of Puerto Rico and is revered by the Puerto Rican community as an important part of our history. It is recognized and acknowledged as “our guitar” and holds important traditional and historical value. The Emmy Award-winning Annual National Cuatro Festival (NCF) is a unique music event that brings the best Cuatro musicians “Cuatristas” from Puerto Rico and the mainland to Chicago for a one-of-a-kind concert experience. This cultural event highlights the national instrument of Puerto Rico as an important part of our heritage and history.

Each year there is a special dedication and one of the highlights of the concert is an opening performance showcasing students from the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s Latin Music Project Ensemble. It is more than a concert, it as a gathering of Chicago’s most long time Latino residents, the Puerto Rican community, and an opportunity to join together with pride to celebrate the beauty of the Chicago’s diversity. Preserving Puerto Rican traditions is at the heart of PRAA’s work and the National Cuatro Festival is a key part of our cultural and educational initiatives.

Over the years the National Cuatro Festival has presented great cuatristas like Yomo Toro, Pedro Guzman, Alvin Medina, Luis Sanz, Prodijio Claudio, Christina Nieves, Manny Trinidad, Emma Colon Zayas, Madibel Delgado, Juradito, Quique Domenech, Javier Mendez, among others. Additionally, great iconic popular and folk music singers/groups such as Victoria Sanabria, Tavin Pumarejo, Odilo Gonzalez, Felito Felix, Andy Montañez, Yolandita Monge, Charlie Aponte, Ismael Miranda, Jose Nogueras, Los Cantores de Bayamon, Mapeye, La Rondalla de Humacao, Puerto Rico Philharmonic, Angel Cucco Peña, Jose Luis Ortiz, Los Hermanos Olvarria, Andres Jimenez, Modesto Nieves, Angel Luis Torruellas, Los Hermanos Sanz and Danny Rivera have graced our stage.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Pasteles de Masa - Pasteles Recipe

Pasteles de Masa

Pasteles Recipe | Pasteles de Masa
4 lb carne de cerdo

1/4 taza de aceite de achiote
10 hojas de Recao
1 cdta Orégano
1 pimiento verde - picado
1 md Cebolla, picado
10 ají dulce - picados
6 dientes de Ajo
2 tomates - picado
8oz Salsa de Tomate
24 aceitunas esañolas
Sal y pimienta a gusto


7 lb de Yautia blanca
4 lb plátanos verdes
1/4 aceite de achiote
3 1/2 cdta de Sal
Hojas de guineos lavadas.

Pica la carne en pedazos pequeños y sazona con sal. Cocina el resto de los ingredientes, -NO LOS DE LA MASA- por 5 minutos. Añada la carne, permite hervir y luego baja a fuego mediano, cocinado por otros 20 minutos o hasta que la carne este tierna.

LA MASA - Monda las yautias y plátanos y guayelos hasta que tengas una masa blanda. hecha un poquito de la carne y un poco del aceite de achiote a la masa y mezcle bien.

Moja la hoja de guineo (12x12) con aceite de achiote.. y en el centro pones de 6 a 8 cucharadas de Masa. En el centro de la masa pones 2 o 3 cucharadas de carne. Ahora doblas la hoja con cuidado, cubriendo la carne de masa, para formar un rectangulo. Amarras el pastel con hilo de cocinar. Repita el procedimiento hasta que se halla usado toda la masa.. como 36 pasteles

En una olla grande hechas 5 litros de agua de sal, entonces hechas como 12 pasteles en el agua hiviendo, y cocinas como 45 minutos. Quítalos del agua enseguida que esten cocinados.


English: Pasteles 

Pasteles Recipe

4 lb pork - very lean
1/4 cup Annatto oil
10 Cilantro leaves (recao)
1 tsp Oregano
1 red bell pepper - chopped in fine strips
1 md Onion, chopped
10 sweet peppers (aji dulce)
6 cloves of Garlic
2 large tomatoes - Chopped
8oz can of Tomato sauce
24 Stuffed spanish olives
Salt and pepper to taste

-----PASTEL DOUGH-----

7 lb White Yautia (spanish root)
4 lb green Plantains
1/4 cup Annatto Oil (recipe follows)
3 1/2 tablespoon Salt
Store bought Banana leaves (washed)

Wash and pat dry the meat. Chop into very small pieces and season with the tablespoon of salt. In a large saucepan add the remaining ingredients (NOT THE DOUGH INGREDIENTS) and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the meat, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 30 more minutes or until meat is tender.

Peel the yautia and green plantains. Grate them until you have a smooth dough type mixture. Slowly add a little of the meat sauce to the dough and mix well. Add 1/4 cup Annatto oil and the salt to the dough, mix well and set aside. (dough should be smooth but not to soft.)

Brush the leaf with a little annatto oil and place 6 or 8 tablespoons of the dough mixture in the center of a 12x12 piece of banana leaf which has been washed. ( these leaves can be purchased at most spanish stores and are pre-cut. But if you can not find them, you can use parchment paper, which is also available at the spanish market.) Spread the mixture in the center of the leaf and form a well in the center of the mixture. In the well; place 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Carefully fold the dough so the meat mixture is covered over. Then fold the leaf to form a rectangular shape and tie with string (tight enough where the mixture won't come out of the pastel). Repeat this until all of the dough mixture has been used. There should be about 36 pasteles.

In a very large pot, place 5 liters of water and 3 1/2 tablespoons of salt; allow to boil. Place about 12 pasteles in the boiling water and allow to boil for about 45 minutes. Immediately remove from water once they are cooked.

recipe courtesy of Bobby's Pedacito de Puerto Rico

You can buy the produce locally, but if you need these


shop on line at BoricuaProduce.com in Chicago.

Maquina de Pasteles

Pasteles Paper

Hilo String to tie them

If you just want to buy Pasteles pre-made, you can purchase them from these places:
Taino Flavor - Cleveland Ohio
Buen Provecho - Atlanta Georgia
PR Pasteles on Facebook


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Puerto Rican Recipes - Puerto Rican Food
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Introduction to Arroz con Gandules
Pasteles de Masa - Pasteles Recipe

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Asopao de Camarones Recipe

 Asopao de Camarones

Asopao de camarones is a delicious Puerto Rican dish, often described as a cross between a soup and a stew. It's made with shrimp, rice, and a flavorful broth that is infused with a variety of spices and herbs. Here's a recipe for Puerto Rican asopao de camarones:


For the Sofrito (Aromatic Base):

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Asopao:

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 cups chicken or seafood broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (red or green)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges for garnish

Yield: This recipe serves 4-6 people.


1. Prepare the Sofrito:

  • In a food processor, combine the onion, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, cilantro, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Pulse until you have a thick paste.
  • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sofrito and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to turn golden and fragrant.

2. Cook the Shrimp:

  • Add the shrimp to the pot with the sofrito and cook for 2-3 minutes until they turn pink. Remove the shrimp from the pot and set them aside.

3. Prepare the Rice:

  • Add the rice to the pot with the remaining sofrito and stir to coat the rice with the mixture.
  • Pour in the chicken or seafood broth and tomato sauce. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Add Vegetables:

  • Add the green peas, diced carrots, bell pepper, celery, and green olives (if using) to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Simmer and Cook:

  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has thickened to a porridge-like consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

6. Finish with Shrimp:

  • Return the cooked shrimp to the pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until they are heated through.

7. Serve:

  • Ladle the asopao into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

8. Enjoy:

  • Asopao de camarones is often served as a hearty meal on its own, but it can also be accompanied by tostones (fried green plantains) or a simple side salad for a complete Puerto Rican dining experience.

Enjoy your homemade Puerto Rican asopao de camarones with some tostones!