The main ingredient of the Venezuelan flavor is the union between family and friends, where everyone can share and celebrate the holidays, here the atmosphere will always be warm and affectionate.
The essential part of Venezuelan Christmas dishes is the Hallaca, of which we already have a whole publication talking about it, however, there are more protagonists of which we can speak, the beloved Pan de Jamon and the tasty Ensalada de Gallina.
What is a Pan de Jamon?
It is a stretched dough which is filled with ham, bacon, raisins, olives, or if you want to you can use other various ingredients, but those are the main ones. Everything is rolled up very carefully and at the end, some dough is left to decorate it, as well as to give it greater consistency.
What is a Pan de Jamon made of?
The main thing about this dish is its style of Ham, which can be Smoked Ham or Ironed Ham, in addition to this, it will have sauteed bacon in strips or squares, it will have a good amount of raisins and olives.
However, there are many variations of its preparation, with cream cheese, with puff pastry, with turkey breast or vegetarian.
Where is Pan de Jamon from?
The origins of this curious dish date back to the 1900s, where bakers from different cultures and countries managed to make bread stuffed with ham and many more ingredients.
It is believed that there was a baker from Caracas who was going through economic difficulties and to have better sales, he made a dough with all the aforementioned ingredients, making his business prosper and he managed to overcome difficulties.
Ham bread dough:
500g. all-purpose or common wheat flour
35 g. powdered milk
250 ml. of warm water
6 g. of dry yeast of baker or 18 g. baker's pressed yeast
5 g. of salt
25 g. of sugar
50 g. of butter
A little oil to grease
For the filling:
400 g. smoked ham
10-12 strips of bacon or smoked bacon
40 g. pitted raisins
100 g. olives stuffed with pepper
1 egg to brush
Preparation of Venezuelan Pan de Jamon
- For the dough, we will use a large container where we will mix the flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, warm water and the beaten egg. Knead with your hands, it should be a sticky dough but little by little it will become more consistent.
- When we have the dough ready, we will add the butter at room temperature. Mix well until you get a uniform dough.
- A jet of oil is added to another container to grease it, we place the dough and cover it with a little oil. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes at room temperature.
Kneading and stuffing the Pan de Jamon
- After the time has elapsed, we place the dough on a clean surface and add flour. We separate the dough into two parts. One half is rolled with a rolling pin and we reserve the other half. We shape it into a rectangle, we can use our hands to help us.
- We put the olives aligned on one side, so they stay in the same place. This step is purely aesthetic, we can spread the olives throughout the dough if it is easier.
- In the middle of the dough, we are going to spread the raisins, put the ham on top (the ham of your choice) and the bacon strips. On the opposite side the olives and we make horizontal cuts to tie the bread, this is purely decorative. It is totally optional, but it gives the ham bread that Christmas touch and it is more attractive.
- The dough is rolled from the side of the olives towards the center, when we reach the cuts we stop rolling and close the bread with the dough strips.
- We will do the same process with the other half of the dough that we had reserved. We prick the loaves with a fork so that the air enters when baking.
Baking and final presentation of the Pan de Jamon
- Cover again with a cloth, let it rest for another 40 minutes. We preheat the oven to 200º C with constant heat up and down. We put the bread on a tray with baking paper.
- We reduce the temperature to 180º C and bake for between 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with beaten egg and bake another 20 minutes at 175º C. We check that the bread is golden on the outside. This will depend on the efficiency of our oven.
- To serve, we cut carefully so that the bread does not break, into slices of the same thickness, that can be tasted. Resulting in bread with a harder crust and a fluffy crumb, with a uniform filling of ham, olives and raisins.
What is Ensalada de Gallina?
Therefore, not that it is a salad that means that it is simple or replaceable, any Venezuelan who serves his Christmas dish without his salad will not be satisfied or happy since it is a fundamental part to fully enjoy the Christmas flavor. It is the perfect complement to give a final touch to your dinner.
What is Ensalada de Gallina made of?
It is the complement to any Venezuelan Christmas dinner, the main thing you will have are potatoes, carrots, chicken (shredded), peas and mayonnaise. In different regions, they give it a special and different touch, so usually, there are also some variations, such as, those that will have pieces of egg, corn kernels, grapes, grated onion, raisins, celery or a point of mustard.
Nowadays an ingredient that has been accepted very well has also been added and that is apple. It is so tasty and succulent that it not only fills our stomachs but also our hearts with memories.
Where is Ensalada de Gallina from?
Its origins have never been exact, but it is reported that approximately in the 1940s it was its creation, according to some studies. The supposed origin goes back to the humblest kitchens of Caracas on the red roofs.
Ingredients for 6 servings
2 Chicken breasts
1/2 kg carrots
2/3 kg potatoes
1 can carrot and petit-pois
1 medium mayonnaise jar
1 medium onion
½ tsp mustard
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 curly lettuce (optional)
2 eggs (optional)
1 apple (optional)
- The skin is removed from the breasts and washed well, they are assembled in a pot with a liter of water, mounted on the fire. All over low heat, the salt will be colored and then covered and left there for at least an hour. Then they are placed in a container and let cool to shred it into small pieces.
- The potatoes and carrots will be boiled over medium heat, in salted water for 30 minutes. Let it rest and remove them from the water, they will be cut into squares.
- Cut the onion into small squares, add the mayonnaise, mustard, and salt to taste, stir well and add the sugar. So we will have the sauce.
- In a container all the vegetables are placed, then the carrot can and the peas. Stir it very well and then we will add the chicken. The sauce will be added in a circular motion, avoiding breaking the vegetables.
- Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably from one day to the next)
- For a nicer presentation, it is served cold on lettuce leaves.