'latin cuisine' on Serious Eats

Latin American Cuisine: Sopa de Platano (Colombian Plantain Soup)

It happens on occasion that I'll come home to a hot meal cooked by my wife, and it's usually something incredibly delicious and simple that I'd never think to make on my own. Last week it was sopa de platano—Colombian plantain soup.

If you don't count salt and oil, the recipe's only got four ingredients. My wife sometimes even leaves out the onions. As the starchy plantains simmer away, they break down, thickening the soup into a rich, rib-sticking, nearly porridge-like consistency, but without the heaviness of a grain or meat-based stew. It's good stuff for a chilly November night.

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Basic Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros—ranch-style eggs—are one of Mexico's most instantly recognizable breakfast dishes: a pair of fried eggs topped with a thick layer of spicy tomato sauce. It sounds rather simple, and it is. However, as with all recipes made with only a handful of ingredients, the treatment of each one is important. More

Latin American Cuisine: How To Make Fried Yuca

The crispier, creamier cousin to french fried potatoes, yuca frita is a side dish and snack food found all over Latin America. In Cuba, it's served with a garlicky mojo sauce (or if you're at a Cuban restaurant in New York, more likely a cilantro sauce, originating from Victor's Cafe). In Colombia, you'll find them with a loose guacamole-like ají de aguacate, or in the snack aisle next to the potato chips. Head over to Peru, and it's a creamy cheese and chili sauce. More

Latin American Cuisine: Colombian-style Barbecue Ribs

You know those bits of fatty, crispy meat that you have to gnaw off the bones when you've just finished off a nice ribeye steak? Those bits that your dogs just go nuts over? Well here's a secret: You don't have to eat the steak first. Any true-blooded Texan will know this, of course. Beef ribs are a staple on Texas-style barbecue menus, and in many ways, it's very similar to the Colombian-style barbecued beef ribs. Both are seasoned with nothing more than a simple salt and pepper rub. Both are cooked over hardwood embers. Both are served neat with perhaps a tiny bit of sauce on the side if you really insist. Both are incredibly delicious. More

Latin American Cuisine: Salpicón (Nicaraguan Minced Meat)

Salpicón is a traditional dish in Nicaragua, simply made by simmering cubes of lean beef in water with onions, green bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black peppercorns. Once cooked through, the vegetables are tossed out with the broth and the beef is finely chopped with fresh onions and bell peppers, then finished off with a squeeze of lime juice. It's a rather healthy dish, especially when compared to many of our other national favorites that just love being submerged in sizzling lard or oil. More

Salpicón (Nicaraguan Minced Meat)

Salpicón is a traditional dish in Nicaragua, simply made by simmering cubes of lean beef in water with onions, green bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black peppercorns. Once cooked through, the vegetables are tossed out with the broth and the beef is finely chopped with fresh onions and bell peppers, then finished off with a squeeze of lime juice. It's a rather healthy dish, especially when compared to many of our other national favorites that just love being submerged in sizzling lard or oil. More

The Food Lab: Peruvian-Style Whole Grilled Chicken

When it comes to Peruvian roast chicken—I'm talking the kind served at places like the Pio Pio mini chain—it's all about that green sauce, right? I mean, sure, the tender chicken, kissed with the smoke of a live fire and a hint of spices and garlic is pretty damn good on its own, but it's that green sauce—spicy, tangy, and cooling—that keeps us coming back for more, right? Here's how to make'em both. More

Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken With Green Sauce

This Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken is a recipe I back-hacked from the awesome chicken and green sauce they serve at Pio Pio in NYC. The basics are simple: butterflied chicken with a vinegar and spice rub gets slow-cooked on the grill, followed by a quick stay directly over the coals to crisp the skin. It comes out tender and juicy and goes perfectly with a simple spicy and cream sauce made with jalapeños and aji amarillo peppers. More

Colombian-style Beans and Rice

At its core, a meal of frijoles needs nothing more than cooked seasoned red beans and rice, but from there it can grow in many directions. The greatest bean dinner is a fast-worthy plate called the bandeja paisa, and it reminds me of a full British breakfast in its makeup and extensive application of fried foods. Beans, rice, arepas, fried green or black plantains, avocado, a thin slice of grilled steak, deep fried pork rinds (known as chicharrones), a chorizo or two, a side of ají to sauce everything up, and a fried egg to top it off. More

Latin American Cuisine: Lobster Ceviche

The first time I had lobster ceviche in this style was off of a boat in Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. At each stop we saw two men in a small canoe. The same two men, one with a rainbow umbrella attached to his hat to ward off the sun, the other hunched over the bottom of the canoe, tending to a live fire burning in the middle of it.

I can't pretend to be able to do what they do—lobster diving and canoe-fire-building are not my areas of expertise—but I often make my own version of their ceviche using live Maine lobsters. I can't think of a better appetizer for a fancy al fresco summer supper.

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