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Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 until October 15 and celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Cooking and sharing authentic ethnic dishes and meals with family and friends is one way that people celebrate the month. So, go ahead and have a party to share the Hispanic heritage! Not sure where to start? Here is a simplified party menu to help you plan an unforgettable fiesta. You might even find a new favorite dish that you'll make for years to come!

Recipes courtesy of Sodexo Organization of Latinos (SOL) – Employee Business Resource Group

Arroz Con Pollo
Serves 8 to 10

Food is by far one of the most transcendent ways in which Hispanics have influenced and enriched American society. In honor of this, we bring you one of the most classic Latin American dishes, which is often interpreted differently with each country, if not each family. Here is one version of Arroz Con Pollo!

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lb. chicken (a whole chicken, about 3 lbs, cut into 8 pieces, skin on, bones in; or the parts you prefer, such as thighs and breasts. The key is to leave the bones and skin in for flavor.)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh Seville orange juice (substitution: 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/8 cup lime juice, 1/8 cup lemon juice, all freshly squeezed)

For the rice:

  • 3 cups Valencia rice
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced chorizo
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-6.5 oz. jar red pimentos, drained, liquid reserved, finely chopped (plus more sliced into thin strips for garnish)
  • 2 T sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-12-oz beer (preferably a pale lager like Budweiser)
  • 1 qt. low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed and cooked

Directions

  1. Start by marinating the chicken: Smash the garlic to a paste with the salt and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cumin, oregano, pepper and Seville orange juice. Toss the chicken parts in with the marinade until coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. To prepare the rice, place in a medium-sized bowl. Stir the saffron threads into 2 cups of warm water. Add the water to the rice, stirring to combine. Set aside.
  3. Make a sofrito. Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart dutch oven or caldero over medium-high heat, stirring until some fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, pimentos and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and cook, stirring another 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and peppers are tender.
  4. Add tomato sauce and chicken (reserving the marinade) to the pot, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes turning chicken over once. Add the reserved marinade, beer, chicken stock and reserved pimento liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender. Most of the liquid will thicken but the final consistency should be that of a stew-like risotto.
  5. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced red pimentos and/or peas.
 
Carne Asada Marinade
Servings: 12

Ingredients

3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped canned
chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
3 pounds flank steak

Directions

  1. Combine the orange, lemon, and lime juice in a large glass or ceramic bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, chipotle pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, dried oregano, black pepper, and cilantro. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until marinade is well combined. Remove one cup of the marinade and place in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for use after the meat is cooked.
  2. Place the flank steak between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the steak with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. After pounding, poke steak all over with a fork. Add the meat to the marinade in the large bowl, cover, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Discard used marinade. Remove meat from heat and slice across the grain.
  5. Pour the one cup of reserved, unused marinade over the hot meat and serve immediately.
 
Pork Ribs with Adobo

Adobo is the Spanish word for sauce and tasty adobo sauce is used in a lot of authentic Mexican food recipes, as well as in other Latin countries' cuisines and in some southwestern United States dishes. The primary ingredients in adobo sauce are tomatoes and jalapenos, and adobo sauce is often served on pork. Using adobo sauce to flavor a few racks of pork ribs is a delicious way to experience the Hispanic cuisine.

To make the sauce, combine several tomatoes in a pan with jalapenos to taste. Add some onion and a clove of garlic. Boil the mixture until the tomato skin begins to peel away. Place the sauce in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve ribs basted with the adobo sauce alongside beans, rice and a warm tortilla.

 
Pozole

Pozole is a traditional soup that is incredibly easy to prepare and gets better the next day. It is a thick soup that’s made with cubed pork, hominy, garlic, onion and broth. The soup base is generally chicken broth, but it can be substituted with beef or vegetable broth. Garnish pozole with avocado slices and serve with a tortilla.

 
Tropical Fruit Salad

Many Hispanic countries are located in warm climates where wonderful tropical fruits and vegetables grow year-round. Fruit salad usually complements the main dish. For your Hispanic heritage party, serve a combination of tropical fruits that are in season to create an authentic salad. Papaya, pineapple, bananas and oranges are some examples of tropical fruits you can use.

 
Beans

Beans make up a huge part of traditional Hispanic food recipes. Cook a pot of beans and serve them as an appetizer with warm corn chips or nachos. For a meal, wrap beans in tortillas, then top with cheese and chili for burritos. Add beans to tacos, or serve them alongside enchiladas or tamales. Another simple meal is to serve beans with rice, avocado and a tortilla. A heartier meal is a Venezuelan classic made with beans and rice with cheese and shredded pork or beef.

 
Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is an easy and authentic way to round out a Hispanic-inspired meal. To make it, combine cooked, cold rice with milk until it's a bit thick but not runny. Season the pudding with cinnamon, ginger and a bit of honey. Toss a handful or two of raisins or other dried fruit into the rice pudding to add flavor and color.

 
Orange Pudding

Orange pudding is another tasty and easy dessert to please a crowd. Combine orange juice with sugar and cornstarch in a pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, remove it from the heat and add butter and cinnamon. Chill before serving.

 

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