Trying new National Hispanic Month recipes is our favorite way to celebrate every September 15 to October 15. What better way to honor Latino cultura than with our taste buds? Try your hand at one (or all five!) of the family-famous recipes from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru and Venezuela we’ll be cooking this month.
Latino cuisine is a mix of traditional Indigenous, Hispanic and African flavors and ingredients honed over time—and guaranteed to be delicioso. Or as we like to say at Familia Kitchen: they’re Abuela Approved. This is exactamente the kinds of dishes from family-famous homecooks we gather, celebrate and share with the next generation of cooks at Familia Kitchen.com—and in our new Familia Kitchen Cookbook, available for preordering on Sept. 15. The 284-page, full-color, hardcover book starts shipping Sept. 30.
As you flip through the cookbook’s 99 family recipes and food stories, we hope you make the traditional dishes that call out to you—in your own way and for people you love. No matter where your family comes from, you and everyone you know are invited to our celebración any time of year and especially during National Hispanic Month.
Below are cinco of our favorite Latino recipes. Each invites you to taste the depth of flavors we plan to make this National Hispanic Month: smoky black bean soup from Cuba, pozole rojo from Mexico, white fish ceviche from Peru, Arroz con pollo from Puerto Rico, and arepas from Venezuela. Hope you are hungry. Buen provecho, gente!
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Pat Murphy—the husband of one of Familia Kitchen’s favorite Puerto Rican food cocineras Michelle Ezratty Murphy—always looked forward to the smoky black bean soup homemade by his aunt’s Cuban neighbor. Luckily, the vecina brought it over frequently.
This is her recipe. While bean dishes are plentiful and much cooked across Latin America, Pat especially loves this recipe for its unmistakably Cuban sabor. For one, the beans are black. Second, the sopa is flavored with lime juice and cumin. And third: ham hocks! This traditional recipe uses on-the-bone ham, adding a distinctly authentic texture. The bone marrow gives the dish a deep, earthy flavor that makes it one of Pat’s forever-favorite soups. Try it for yourself and let us know how it turns out!
Isabel Reyes of Chicago sent Familia Kitchen her mom’s legendary recipe for pozole rojo with pork. “My three brothers and sister and all my cousins and I grew up eating—and loving—this dish in Pilsen, Chicago. My mom, Nata (Natalia), came from a large family of seven kids in San Luis Potosí, México. This is a recipe that comes from my grandmother, who I watched cook for a few years when she would take care of my siblings and me. My mom has tweaked this recipe a bit by toasting some of the ingredients, such as the cumin,” says Isabel. If you’re really full after a big bowl of this pozole, follow it with a shot of good tequila, she adds.
One of our favorite Peruvian homecooks, Susana Bellido Cummings, sent in this beloved white fish ceviche recipe with thinly sliced red onion and aji amarillo. “Nothing like a plate of just-made ceviche, after a day at the beach with friends—washed down with ice-cold beer at one of the rustic restaurants in the village of San Andrés. The strong ocean smell, groaning of sea lions and sand-dune lines of the Bay of Paracas in Perú—where I was born and my family has spent summers for generations—conjure adolescent bliss, along with ceviche, the tangy, spicy fish dish that makes you worship the Pacific Ocean,” dats Susana.
“For decades, my immediate family, now living in the U.S., has tried to bring back those memories, making do without the precise ingredients, such as the tangy green limón verde used to marinade the seafood. And if you want to go really native, save the ceviche juice or leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), which, combined with a shot of pisco, is an excellent pick-me-up after a beer too many.”
No denying it, arroz con pollo is the traditional Latino version of American comfort food. Familia Kitchen homecook Michelle Ezratty Murphy grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and married a Boricua. This is one of their all-time-favorite dishes, passed on from his aunt, Titi Rosa. “My first memories of this hearty, savory and definitive rice and chicken recipe go back to when I was dating my Puerto Rican husband. Pat would always take me to his aunt’s house in the late afternoon, where all the family would congregate. The minute we stepped into the kitchen, all was good in the world. It would take at least 15 minutes to hug everyone and share how your day went, and of course there was always a little chisme that had to go around. Titi Rosa would be standing over the stove with her long metal spoon, stirring something in her caserola that always smelled good. My favorite was when Titi made her arroz con pollo. You just knew that this dish was made with love. Her rice was perfect: never too wet and never too dry.”
”Arepas are our daily bread in Venezuela,” says Liliana Hernandez of Glenview, Illinois, one of our go-to homecooks from Venezuela. ”You could say it’s our country’s most famous dish—it represents Venezuela in any part of the world. Its ingredient list is simple: it made from three things: pre-cooked and ground corn meal, water and salt. Arepas are typically made on a round griddle or comal called a budare. In my case, I then pop them into the oven for another 10 minutes so that they stay fluffy and taste even more delicioso.” Not only are they deliciosas, says Liliana, arepas are so versatile. ”We Venezuelans fill them with an infinity of ingredients and serve them any time of day. Arepas are eaten for breakfast or as a side with lunch and dinner. We even eat arepas fried sometimes, with a little hole in the middle: they are crunchy—and equally delicious.” Try y her recipe and taste why for yourself, Liliana says.