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Five recipes to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Here's a gastronomic tour to celebrate the extraordinary flavors, immensity of ingredients and the ancestral culinary techniques of the exquisite Latin…

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It is neither a top five or dispute over which Latin country or culture has the best food. On the contrary, it is about exalting diversity, a characteristic factor of the multicultural Hispanic community, as a key and differential element of a cuisine that, although clearly evolved, preserves the flavors of its roots in dishes that are world famous and desired.

Although hundreds of recipes and types of cuisines will be left out of this list, since each Hispanic  nation has several culinary delights (such as the Mexican addition recognized by UNESCO), the list below shares instructions one can take into kitchens and prepare unforgettable dishes that highlight the best of Hispanic culture.

*Note: each recipe is described as they do in each country of origin, so the words used to name the ingredients may vary depending on the region.

Mole enchiladas with chicken (Mexico - Recipe taken from Cocina Fácil)

Ingredients: 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of vegetable oil, 12 tortillas, 2 cups of cooked and shredded chicken, 1 cup of cream, 1 cup of crumbled fresh cheese, 1/2 cup of sliced onion, 1 glass of red mole paste. 

Preparation

In a saucepan, heat the oil until it smokes. Fry the tortillas lightly and, when removed, immediately put them on absorbent paper. Boil the chicken broth in a pot and add the pasta. Dissolve it until the red mole is liquid. Heat the chicken in another skillet. In the hot red mole, dip each of the tortillas and put a little chicken in the center of each one. It is suggested to serve three enchiladas per plate. Garnish with cream, cheese, and onion. Serve immediately.

Arroz mamposteao (“mamposteado” rice – Puerto Rico -  Recipe taken from Comedera)

Ingredients: 2 strips of bacon, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 4 cups of cooked white rice,
1 cup of cooked red kidney beans, oil, a tea spoon of oregano (you can add more if you like), 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, coriander to taste, ½ onion, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ cup chopped plantains and 1 chicken seasoning cube.

Preparation

Finely chop the bacon and fry it. Add the peppers, onion and garlic, all finely chopped. Stir for three minutes. Add the beans, tomato sauce and oregano. Cook everything for two minutes. Add the seasoning cube and then add the cooked rice. Mix so all the ingredients are well incorporated. Pour in the finely chopped plantain and top it with fresh cilantro to taste.

Sancocho de carne (Meat and potatoes soap - Colombia - Recipe taken from Colombia.com)

Ingredients: 1 grated carrot, 2 garlic, salt to taste, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley, 1/2 grated paprika, 2 stalks of long onion, 7 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander, 5 pastusas potatoes (can be replaced with another type of potato), 1 large yucca, 2 green plantains, 3 creole potatoes, 1 kilogram of morrillo beef, 1/2 arracacha and 1 tablespoon of turmeric.

Preparation

Put the water in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes to cook the meat, adding onion, garlic, salt and paprika. Peel the potatoes, separately, in irregular cuts, slice the plantains in small pieces and the yucca, which is cut in half and the "vein" removed, is cut into medium-sized pieces. When the meat is ready, preserve and remove any excess of fat for the broth. Add to this the creole potatoes, without cutting them, along with the carrots, turmeric and grated arracacha. Cook until the ingredients are soft to the touch. Finally, serve with a good piece of meat, and garnish with finely chopped coriander or parsley.

Papas a la huancaína (Potatoes to the huancaína - Perú – Recipe taken from Bon Viveur)

Ingredients: 6 medium potatoes, 2 yellow peppers, 200 g of fresh cheese, 10 crackers (soda crackers) and 150 ml of evaporated milk. It is served with lettuce, hard-boiled egg and black olives. 

Preparation

Boil salted water in a pot. Add the potatoes with skin and previously washed. Cook for 35 minutes. Add the eggs and boil for 10 more minutes. Strain and reserve. Using the food processor, add all the ingredients for the sauce: the fresh cheese, the soda crackers, the evaporated milk and the peppers. Remember to remove the seeds of the yellow pepper so that the sauce is not excessively spicy. Beat until you get the desired texture (a semi-liquid sauce) and reserve in a sauce boat. Choose some lettuce leaves to cover the bottom of the plate. Peel the potatoes, taking care not to burn yourself, and cut them into thick slices. Put them on top of the lettuce. Add the huancaína sauce until the potatoes are well covered. Decorate with the hard-boiled egg and black olives.

Empanadas (Argentina – Recipe from Cocina Fácil)

Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of oil, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 500 g of ground or finely chopped meat, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 cup of chopped olives, 1/2 cup of tomato puree, 1/4 cup of chopped parsley.

Preparation

Fry the onion in the oil and season with paprika. Add the meat and cook for a few minutes. When it changes color, add the parsley and tomato puree. Reduce a little and season with sugar, salt, pepper and lastly, add the olives. Get out of the fire. Add the egg and cool. Fill the dough discs and close them by pinching and folding the edge to form the patty. You can prepare them in the oven, as is traditionally done in Argentina, or also fry them.

Don't let Hispanic Heritage Month go by without at least trying to make one of these recipes at home. Your palate will thank you.

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