Hispanic cuisine is undeniably one of the most distinguishable in the world. Its depth of flavors and spices leads to a variety of colorful dishes that celebrate its heritage. By tasting any Hispanic recipe you will immerse yourself in a world of diversity. Here are a few of our favorite delicious dishes.
Mole Poblano (Mexico)- This dish has its pre-Hispanic origins in the Aztec Empire. It varies in consistencies, changing from levels of sweetness and spiciness.
7 ancho chili peppers
6 Mulatto peppers
6 pasilla peppers
3 chipotle peppers
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
100 g raisins
100 g unsalted peanuts
100 g Almonds
50 g Pumpkin seed
50 g Sesame
2 hard tortillas
1 pc. Hard bobbin
1 Male banana, ripe
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp Anise
½ Piloncillo cone
1 Table Chocolate tablet (Ibarra)
1 L. Water
2 Vegetable bouillon tablets
1 tsp. Black pepper
Olive oil or avocado
- Clean and devein the chilies. In a comal, grill on both sides, taking care that they do not burn to avoid making the sauce bitter. Once roasted, put them in a pot with enough boiling water, let it soak for 20 minutes to soften. Since they are soft, blend and reserve.
- Boil tomato, onion and garlic in another pot.
- In a skillet with enough vegetable oil, brown the thickeners of the pasta: raisins, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, the tortilla cut into quarters, the bolillo in slices and sliced plantain. Since they are burned, blend together with the cinnamon, cloves, anise, pepper, sesame and gradually add water until a homogeneous mixture is obtained.
- In a cazuela (preferably clay) add vegetable oil, the chocolate bar, the brown sugar and the vegetable consommé tablets; move constantly until they fall apart. Once the consistency is liquid, add the thickening (step 3) and the chilli sauce, using a strainer. Mix the three parts very well and constantly. Season one more time if necessary. Do not stop stirring for a few minutes until it comes to the first boil over low heat. (preferably use a wooden scoop).
Notes: This recipe is simple, but takes time to achieve. The roasted ingredients should look almost burnt. You can make enmoladas or serve over potatoes, sweet potatoes, chilaquiles, rice, etc..
Empanadas (Argentina) - There are many variations of empanadas throughout Latin America. This particular beef-filled empanada is from Argentina.
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 lb. ground beef (20% fat)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 small red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- 2 tsp. sugar
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 packages (12 each) Puff Pastry Dough for Turnovers/Empanadas (preferably Goya)
- ½ cup pitted green olives (Picholine or Spanish), rinsed well, cut in half lengthwise
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over high. Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned but not completely cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, bell peppers, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, stirring, until tender but not browned, 6–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper. Add cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and reserved beef along with any accumulated juices to pot. Stir in sugar, 4 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until most of the liquid is evaporated, 15–20 minutes; taste and season with salt and black pepper, if needed. Stir in raisins. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Let dough sit at room temperature 15 minutes to temper. Remove 6 rounds from the package, keeping the plastic divider underneath, and arrange on a work surface. Place 2 Tbsp. filling in the center of each round. Top with 2 olive halves. Brush water around half of the outer edge of each round. Using a plastic divider to help you, fold round over filling and pinch edges to seal. Using a fork, crimp edges. Remove plastic and transfer empanada to a parchment-lined sheet tray, spacing 1" apart. Repeat with remaining rounds (you’ll get about 12 empanadas on each tray).
- Bake empanadas, rotating tray halfway through, until golden brown and slightly darker around the edges, 25–35 minutes.
Ropa Vieja (Cuba)- This traditional Hispanic recipe originating in Cuba is usually prepared with flank steak because of its shredded-long fibers. However, this recipe takes its own spin on the dish by using chuck roast. Nonetheless, this recipe will taste great with whatever you decide to use. Don’t forget to serve with fried sweet plantains and Cuban-style black beans.
- 3 pounds chuck roast, brisket, or flank steak
- 2 tablespoons (or more if using flank steak) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 3½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt
- 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican or Italian oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, halved crosswise
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Chopped cilantro, white rice, maduros, and black beans (for serving)
- 1. Pat roast dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high. Cook chuck roast, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, 5–7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- 2. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 250°. Cook onion, bell peppers, and salt (plus 2 Tbsp. oil if using flank steak), stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and coarsely break up with a spoon (they’ll continue to break down as they cook). 3. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- 4. Nestle roast into tomato mixture and tuck in bay leaves on either side. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise roast and vegetables until meat is very tender and shreds easily, 2½–3 hours. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- 5. Skim excess fat from sauce; discard bay leaves. Using a potato masher or 2 forks, tear and smash beef into sauce until it’s shredded and incorporated into sauce. Stir in olives and vinegar.
- 6. Divide ropa vieja among plates. Top with cilantro. Serve with rice, maduros, and beans alongside.
Chiles en Nogada (Mexico)- This patriotic-colored dish is the vivid representation of Mexican heritage. It is a meat stuffed poblano chile with a creamy nogada sauce embellished with sweet pomegranate seeds. There are many ways to prepare this Hispanic dish. Here is one.
6 large poblano chiles about 6″ long
10 ozs. Beef
10 ozs. Pork
1 medium carrot
1 medium white onion
1 medium waxy potato
1 medium zucchini squash
3 plum tomatoes Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup peas
8 ozs. biznaga or candied fruit or dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt + salt to taste
1 1/4 cup Mexican cream do not use sour cream
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 small pomegranates or 1 large
1 small bunch of parsley
- PRECOOK THE MEAT
- Place the meat in a pan and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook the meat until just cooked through (about 20 minutes) turning once. When the meat is cooked remove it from the pan and allow it to cool to the touch. Reserve the cooking liquid.
- CHOP THE INGREDIENTS
- Chop the meat into cubes first then chop finely.
- Chop the onion, carrot, zucchini, potato and candied fruit into 1/4" cubes.
- Chop the almonds very fine.
- PREPARE THE TOMATO BASE
- Slice the tomatoes in half and add them to your blender with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the meat.
- Blend until smooth but not liquefied.
- COOK THE FILLING
- Fry the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil for 2 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped meat and stir.
- Add the pureed tomato.
- Add the carrots, zucchini, and raisins and cook for 5 minutes until the tomato puree is starting to reduce.
- Add the peas, biznaga or candied fruit and almonds. stir well.
- Cook for 15 minutes until all of the vegetables are fully cooked and tender and the liquid is reduced.
- Note: If the filling starts to get too dry before all of the ingredients are fully cooked add the cooking liquid from the meat a few tablespoons at a time as needed.
- ROAST AND CLEAN THE POBLANO CHILES
- Place the chiles over the open flame on the burner on your stove. Note: Do not leave chiles unattended.
- Blacken and blister the skin on all sides.
- When you have roasted all of the chiles, place them in a plastic bag to sweat them.
- Scrape the skin of the chiles with the blade of a knife.
- Using a small knife, gently split the chile down the side without cutting all the way through the tip of the chile.
- Remove the seeds inside the chile with your fingers without tearing the chile.
- PREPARE THE NOGADA
- Place the cream, walnuts, and cinnamon in your blender.
- Blend until the walnuts are completely incorporated into the sauce and the sauce is smooth.
- PREPARE THE GARNISHES
- Slice the pomegranates in half.
- Remove the seeds from your pomegranates.
- Chop the parsley very finely reserving a few leaves to use as decoration.
- SERVE THE CHILES EN NOGADA
- Fill each poblano chile with enough filling so that it will just close. Use toothpicks to keep each chile closed if needed.
- Place 1 stuffed chile on each plate.
- Spoon nogada over the stuffed chile until the chile is completely covered.
- Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley over the chile covered in nogada.
- Decorate with one or two parsley leaves.
Arroz con Leche (Mexico): This is another authentic recipe that takes Hispanics back to their childhood. Each country has its own twist on this dessert, yet holding its essence true to its Hispanic heritage. This rice pudding recipe is from Mexico, one of the countries in which this dessert is most popular.
- 3/4 Cup short white rice
- 2 1/2 Cups of water
- 1 small piece of a cinnamon stick see picture below
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup of condensed milk
- 1/4 cup of raisins optional
- Ground cinnamon for dusting
- Place water, rice and the piece of cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until rice is tender.
- While the rice is cooking, mix the whole milk with the condensed milk and stir well.
- The rice will be ready when all the water has evaporated and it has formed some holes over the surface like in the above picture.
- Remove pot from heat. Pour the whole milk and condensed milk mix into the saucepan and stir. If you would like to add the raisins or vanilla extract, you can add them now.
- Return the saucepan to heat, cover and keep cooking until it thickens. It will take about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- If the rice looks too dry for your taste, add 1/4 cup of warm whole milk and stir. The end result has to look like a soft and creamy pudding.
- If serving warm, place in small cups and sprinkle ground cinnamon. When serving cold, pour rice pudding into a container and cover with a plastic wrap pressed down.