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Recipe Friday: Hispanic Heritage Month

It's Hispanic Heritage Month! Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. 

In order to kick-off Hispanic Heritage Month the right way, let's take a tour to 10 Hispanic countries, but you won't be needing passports, luggage, or hotels — all you need is a kitchen.

Enchiladad de Pollo (Mexico)

Yield: 6

To no one’s surprise enchiladas are one of the most loved ethnic foods in the U.S. and in Mexico. They’re tasty, cheesy and covered in enchilada sauce.  


½ cup canola oil
Non-stick cooking spray
1 can (10 oz each) green chile enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 cup crumbled queso enchilado cheese
 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp ground cumin
12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
1 cup shredded Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (10 oz each) Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained
Shredded lettuce, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Pour enchilada sauce in shallow bowl; set aside.

  2. Combine chicken, queso enchilado cheese, onion and cumin in medium bowl.

  3. Fry each side of a tortilla quickly in oil until pliable; dip in enchilada sauce. Place in baking dish and top with about 1/4 cup filling. Roll tortilla around filling and place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat using all tortillas and filling.

  4. Pour any remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with Chihuahua cheese; top with drained tomatoes. Cover dish with foil; bake 25 minutes or until hot. Serve on shredded lettuce, if desired.

Ropa Vieja (Cuba)

Yield: 6

Ropa Vieja is popular Cuban dish which literally translates to “old clothes.”


1 can (14.5 oz each) plum tomatoes, peeled
2 lbs beef flank steak
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ea. large yellow onion, sliced
3 ea. bell peppers, assorted colors, sliced
2 T tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
½ cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Blanc or Chardonnay)
1 cup beef broth
Parsley or cilantro, optional
Black beans, optional
Rice, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour tomatoes into a medium bowl and crush with your hands, set aside. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook beef until browned on both sides; transfer to plate and set aside.

  2. Add onions and peppers to pot, cook and stir until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika and oregano, cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine, scraping up any bits on bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Stir in tomatoes and ½ cup beef broth; bring to a simmer.

  3. Return beef to pot, add bay leaf. If needed, add remaining broth just to cover beef. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid and place in oven. Cook until beef is tender and easy to shred, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaf. Remove beef and shred into thin strips with two forks, then stir back into tomato sauce.

  4. Simmer uncovered until sauce is thickened enough to coat beef, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. If desired serve with parsley or cilantro, black beans and rice.

Baleadas (Honduras)

We’re making one more stop in Central America to try the Baleadas, one of Honduras’ most appetizing dishes. This traditional recipe is composed of a flour tortilla that’s folded in half and filled with scrambled eggs, refried beans and cheese. 

Yield: 6


Non-stick cooking spray
1 ½ cups eggs, beaten
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 can (16 oz each) refried beans, warmed
12 corn tortillas (6 inch), warmed
1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
Salsa or chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add Egg Beaters and pepper; cook without stirring until bottom begins to set. Lift cooked portion and gently turn to scramble. Continue cooking until set.

  2. Spread beans evenly on tortillas; top with scrambled Egg Beaters, cheese and sour cream. Serve with salsa or cilantro, if desired.

Ceviche Camarones (Ecuador)

Yield: 6

The coastal food of Ecuador is a hidden gem, which is why if you’ve never tried shrimp ceviche, now is your chance. This recipe is made using the traditional flavors of thinly sliced red onion, lime juice and fresh cilantro. 


1 ½ cups thinly sliced red onion
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Non-stick cooking spray
1 ½ pounds peeled, deveined 41/50 count shrimp, tail off, thawed
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, drained|
¾ cup fresh orange juice
⅓ cup ketchup
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T yellow mustard


  1. Combine onion, lime juice and salt in small bowl; set aside and stir occasionally.

  2. Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turns pink, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet; place in shallow container. Cool 10 minutes in refrigerator.

  3. Stir together drained tomatoes, orange juice, ketchup, cilantro, oil and mustard in large bowl. Add onion mixture and shrimp; toss together to combine.

Lomo Saltado (Peru)

Although the Lomo Saltado is a classic Peruvian dish, it actually has Asian influence combining flavors and ingredients such as stir-fried beef tenderloin with hot yellow peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes and soy sauce.

Yield: 6


1 pkg (15 oz each) Alexia® Yukon Gold Julienne Fries with Sea Salt
¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ lbs beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ cups sliced onion
2 T finely chopped garlic
2 tsp aji amarillo paste (yellow hot pepper paste)
1 can (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, drained
3 T soy sauce
1 T teriyaki stir fry sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare fries according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Add to skillet; cook and stir 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet; set aside.

  2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until crisp tender. Add garlic and aji amarillo paste; cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add drained tomatoes, soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. Return beef to skillet; cook until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve beef over fries.

Gallo Pinto (Coast Rica)

Traditionally served with breakfast alongside fried or scrambled eggs, Gallo Pinto is a hearty and delicious traditional Costa Rican dish. 

Yield: 8-10


2 T light-tasting oil (vegetable, mild olive, canola)
1 ea. red bell pepper , chopped
1 ea. small yellow onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic , minced
2 cups cooked black beans, in ¾ cup reserved cooking liquid
¼ cup Salsa Lizano
3 cups cooked rice , preferably, day-old and refrigerated
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sauté chopped bell pepper and onions until peppers are soft and onions are translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.

  2. Add black beans, reserved cooking liquid, and Salsa Lizano, stirring to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and little bit of the liquid is evaporated. Gently stir in cooked rice and cook until heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed, but not dry, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season to taste with additional Salsa Lizano (we added about a tablespoon extra).

Pepiann Pollo (Guatemala)

This velvety chicken stew is the ultimate Guatemalan comfort food! Often considered the national dish of Guatemala, pepián de pollo features tender chicken pieces in a lightly-spiced tomato, toasted pumpkin seed and chile sauce. 

Yield: 4


1 ea. whole chicken (4-5lbs), cut into serving pieces
5 cups water or more as needed
2 tsp salt, or to taste
5 ea fresh Roma tomatoes
1 ea. chile pasa (pasilla) dried, seeds and stem removed
1 ea. chile guaque (guajillo) seeds and stem removeddried
1 ea. medium white onion
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds pepitas
1-inch cinnamon stick
¼ tsp dried achiote
½ cup cilantro
2 ea. corn tortillas
Optional vegetables:  pre-cooked green beans, huisquil (chayote) and potato


  1. Cut the chicken into  serving-sized pieces and simmer it in 5 cups of water (just enough to cover the chicken) with salt for 30 minutes. Skim off and discard any grey scum that may form while cooking. Drain and reserve the broth for the sauce.

  2. Meanwhile, toast the cinnamon stick, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds separately in the dry skillet (no oil) until browned but not burned. The pumpkin seeds will pop when they're fully toasted.

  3. Dry roast (toast ) two corn tortillas (or two pieces of crusty French bread) in the same dry skillet, remove from pan, pour small amount of water over to moisten and set aside.

  4. Char the Roma tomatoes, chiles (seeds and stem removed) and onion over a dry skillet (with no oil)  in batches until very well browned.

  5. Process the toasted seeds and cinnamon stick in a spice grinder or food processor until they are a very fine powder. You'll need to pulse several times to get the mixture fine enough.

  6. Add the charred tomatoes, chiles and onion to the food processor. You don't need to peel the tomatoes or onions as you want the charred skins included in the sauce.

  7. If you processed the seed mixture in a spice grinder, add it to the food processor now. Add the achiote, cilantro and a half teaspoon of salt. Process for several minutes until very smooth.

  8. Add the toasted corn tortillas (or French bread) and four cups of reserved chicken broth to the tomato, spice and seed mixture and process until very smooth.

  9. Pour the sauce into the pot, bring to a low boil. Add the chicken. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes or longer until the sauce is very thick and a deep red colour. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

  10. Add any chopped, pre-cooked vegetables (if using, see note below) at this time.

  11. Serve with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and with white rice and wedges of fresh avocado on the side.

Pupusas (El Salvador)

El Salvador's most notable dish is the pupusa, a thick handmade corn flour or rice flour flatbread stuffed with cheese, chicharrón (cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency), refried beans or loroco (a vine flower bud native to Central America).

Ingredients for the Curtido

½ head of cabbage, shredded
1 ea. large carrot, grated
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ ea. medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup water
½ tsp brown sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt


  1. Prepare the curtido by first tossing the cabbage, onions, and carrot together in a bowl.

  2. Mix the apple cider vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes altogether.

  3. Pour this over the cabbage mixture and mix well.

  4. Refrigerate in a covered dish for at least a day until serving.

Ingredients for the Pupusas

2 cups masa harina/corn flour
1 cup grated mozarella or monterey jack cheese
1 ½ cups warm water
Vegetable oil


  1. Knead together the flour, salt, and water to form a smooth moist dough adding additional water or flour gradually if needed.

  2. Work into a ball, cover the bowl and let it rest for ten (0:10) minutes.

  3. Oil the hands and divide the dough into eight pieces.

  4. Form eight balls, each about two inches in diameter.

  5. Make an indentation in each ball, by pressing in with the thumb to make a small cup.

  6. Spoon one tablespoon of grated cheese into the indentation and seal the dough shut.

  7. Flatten the ball into a thick tortilla about ¼ inch thick.

  8. Heat a little vegetable oil and fry the pupusas for three (0:03) minutes on each side. Serve the hot pupusas with a generous serving of curtido.

Vigorón (Nicaragua)

Vigorón is a traditional Nicaraguan dish. It consists of a cabbage salad, boiled yuca, and charrascaes, all wrapped in a banana leaf. This dish is often eaten without utensils, and it is frequently served to visiting family and guests, as it is generally easily and quickly prepared. 

Yield: 4


2 lbs fresh yuca root cassava
1 ea. small head of cabbage, or half of a large head
4 ea. roma tomatoes, diced
¼ cup apple cider vinega
1 ea. large lime juiced
2 tsp salt
1 lb fried pork skin or pork rinds


  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the ends of the yuca root, and then cut it into 4-inch chunks. Cut the skin off, in the same manner as you would if you were cutting the skin off an orange for segments. 

  2. Rinse the peeled yuca and then place it in a large pot. Fill pot with water, making sure to cover the yuca completely. 

  3. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Make sure to not over-cook the yucca.

  4. Begin to make the cabbage salad by finely shredding the cabbage, as if making coleslaw. You can use a mandolin with the crossblade or you can finely shred it with a sharp knife. 

  5. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the cabbage once more and return to the bowl. Add the diced tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, and salt. Mix until evenly combined. Wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature or in the fridge until ready to serve. 

  6. Once the yuca is cooked through, remove from the water and place on a cutting board. Cut into bite sized pieces, discarding any fibrous pieces.

  7. To assemble the vigoron, place the yuca pieces on individual plates or bowls, and top with pieces of pork rinds and the cabbage salad. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Curanto (Chile)

Chile Curanto is an authentically Chilean dish originating on the Archipelago of Chiloé. Historically this meal was made by digging a hole about 1 ½ yards deep, putting in red hot stones that were heated in a bonfire and then adding in an assortment of seafood, meats and vegetables. This was then covered with nalca leaves basically Chilean rhubarb and then covered with wet sacks.

Yield: 4


2 T olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 lb mini Yukon Gold potatoes
1 ea. red pepper, sliced
1 ea. medium white onion, sliced
1 ea. banana pepper or several small jalapenos, thickly sliced
1 T garlic chopped
1 ea. large Savoy cabbage, leaves torn off
2 ea. Spanish chorizo sausages cut in thirds
1 lb smoked pork spare ribs or pork chops
2 lbs clams
1 lb mussels
1 cup white wine


  • Heat oil in a large grill-proof wide pot over high heat on the barbecue.

  • Add chicken and cook until lightly brown.

  • Add potatoes, red peppers, onions, banana peppers and half of garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes or until softened.

  • Cover tightly with cabbage leaves.

  • Add sausage and spare ribs and cover with more cabbage leaves.

  • Add clams, mussels and remaining garlic, pour wine over top and cover with a final layer of cabbage leaves.

  • Cover pot tightly with a lid.

  • Keep barbecue heat at about 325 F and cook for about 40 minutes or until everything is cooked and steaming hot.

  • Remove pot from barbecue and put all the ingredients clams, mussels, sausage, chicken and pork on a platter.

  • Serve cabbage as well.


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