Hispanic Heritage Month occurs annually between September 15th – October 15th to honor and acknowledge the Latino and Hispanic cultures across the globe. For West Pak, this time of year is especially important to our company, as we embrace and recognize all our avocado regions from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and of course, here in North America. One of the strongest and most beautiful ways the Hispanic origins share their love and warm embrace with others is through food. It’s been said that five of the most important ingredients used in Mexican cuisine, in particular, are: corn, beans, cheese, fats, tomatoes, and avocado. Do you agree? Our team has compiled four traditional Hispanic recipes featuring avocado for you to share with your shoppers, customers, friends, and family.
Chicken Pozole with Avocado
A traditional Mexican meal, this soup is made with hominy and either pork or chicken and seasoned with ancho and guajillo chiles. Pozole is served with an array of toppings so family or guests can personalize it to their liking.
- 8 cups water
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
- 2 dried guajillo chiles, seeds and stems removed
- 1 (25 oz) can Mexican Style hominy, drained and rinsed
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- diced avocado
- chopped cabbage
- sliced radishes
- lime wedges
- chopped cilantro
- In a caldero or Dutch oven, add the chicken breasts, olive oil, and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165˚ internally.
- In a low dish, place dried chiles and cover with hot water. Soak for about 15 minutes until the chiles have softened. Discard liquid.
- Remove chicken and allow to cool slightly before shredding.
- In a blender, combine 1 cup of the cooked chicken broth with onions, garlic, cumin, and softened chiles, and then blend until smooth.
- Return the shredded chicken to the caldero with the remaining broth, then add the blended sauce and hominy. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle pozole into bowls and serve with an array of toppings.
NOTE: You can replace the chicken (and step 1) with a rotisserie chicken (shredded) and 5 cups of chicken broth.
Shredded Beef Empanadas with Avocado Sauce
Empanadas are a crispy, breaded pastry with a savory center. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which roughly translates to “wrap in bread.” Costa Rican empanadas are made of corn dough filled with chicken, beef, beans, pork, or potatoes.
Shredded Beef Ingredients
- 1.5 pounds chuck roast or flank steak
- ½ – 1 Tbsp. salt *
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1/2 small bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Salsa Lizano
- 3-4 cups beef stock *
*depending on the cooking method
Shredded Beef Instructions
- Place all the ingredients (using the lower amount of salt and beef stock) into the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.
- Release the pressure, remove the meat and set it aside to cool slightly before shredding.
- Using the higher amounts of salt and beef stock, place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6-8 hours.
- Remove the meat and set it aside to cool slightly before shredding.
- 1 cup masa harina (yellow corn flour)
- ½ – ¾ cup warm water
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt.
- Slowly pour in water and knead with your hands to form a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into four equal-size dough balls.
- Place one ball of dough between two pieces of plastic and press flat using a tortilla press, a heavy skillet, or a dish.
- Remove the top plastic and spoon ¼ – ⅓ cup of the shredded beef onto half of the tortilla, leaving enough room to seal the edges.
- Use the plastic to help fold the dough over in half.
- Pinch the edges closed.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and then reduce the heat slightly and fry slowly for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Remove empanadas from oil and pat dry.
- Serve warm with avocado sauce.
Avocado Sauce Ingredients
- 1 ripe avocado, seeded, peeled
- 3 tsp. light mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. water
- salt, to taste
- In a blender or food processor, blend sauce ingredients. If it’s too thick, slowly add more water to reach desired thickness.
- Serve as a condiment alongside the empanadas.
Avocado Topped Ceviche
Ceviche is a popular citrus-infused raw seafood dish in Peru. The appetizer or main course consists of fresh fish, usually mahi-mahi, tilapia, or octopus, marinated in lime juice and served with thinly sliced red onion and peppers.
- 1 lb. tilapia fillets, skinned, deboned, and cubed
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- ½ small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
- ¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp. ginger, grated
- ¼ cup jalapeno or habanero pepper, seeded and finely diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Wash and pat dry the fish.
- Cut into ¾-inch cubes, removing any remaining skin, scales, or spines.
- In a shallow dish, marinate the fish cubes in the lime juice.
- Cover the container and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, occasionally stirring gently to ensure all fish is in contact with the juice.
- Taste test to make sure the lime has “cooked” the fish without overcooking. When done, the flesh should be opaque and about to fall apart. Continue marinating if needed for up to 60 minutes total.
- Remove fish from the refrigerator and add tomato, onion, cucumber, ginger, peppers, coriander, and a pinch of salt, before stirring.
- Taste test and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately topped with fresh avocado slices.
Hatch Red Chile Enchiladas with Avocado
Hatch chiles hail from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico and are typically green, red, or yellow and offer a variety of heat. This popular pepper is essential to many Southwest dishes, including classic enchiladas. See a local serving suggestion at the bottom of the recipe.
Hatch Red Chile Sauce Ingredients
- 1lbs roasted Hatch red chiles
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 Tbsp. liquid garlic (or juice two garlic cloves)
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
Hatch Red Chile Sauce Instructions
- Roast and peel chiles.
- Cut off the stems and remove the seeds.
- Use a blender to puree and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat until hot, add flour, and cook until brown.
- Add liquid garlic, oregano, and cumin to the flour mixture and mix well.
- Add the red chile puree and mix well.
- Stir frequently, bringing the mixture to an extremely gentle boil.
- Salt to taste.
- Lower the heat and cook your sauce on low for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. chile powder
- 1 tsp.cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 10 corn tortillas
- 8 ounces shredded jack cheese
- ⅓ cup green onions, chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350˚.
- Butter or spray a casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil.
- Add ground beef and saute over medium-high heat.
- Mix in onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin, and paprika.
- Once ground beef is fully cooked, remove the pan from heat.
- Lay a tortilla on a cutting board. Add beef mixture to one side, roll the tortilla, and place it seam-side down in the casserole dish. Repeat with each tortilla.
- Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.
- Garnish with sliced avocados and green onions, and serve two rolled enchiladas per person.
Note: The traditional way to assemble Hatch enchiladas in New Mexico is to layer the meat, sauce, and cheese within a stack of lightly fried tortillas. And it’s all topped with a fried egg – yum!