Christmas is the time to celebrate with our loved ones and to share traditional meals.
Each country has its own customs and traditions surrounding the happiest time of the year. In Mexico, they celebrate posadas nine days before Christmas. In Colombia and Ecuador, they usually have novenas between December 16th and the 24th. Each of these celebrations include delicious traditional food we crave year-round.
Here are some recipes that are easily prepared to share with friends and family during these celebrations.
Nachos are a fan favorite snack at every party, and this vegetarian version will be a sensation. In a pan, fry 1/2 a red onion finely chopped with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until sautéed. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 can of pinto beans and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Cook until the beans are soft and smash with a fork Season with salt and pepper to taste.
On a baking sheet, place 12 tortillas cut into triangles or strips. Drench the tortillas with half the bean mix and 1/2 cup of grated cheese of your choice. Repeat with a second layer. Bake at 400° F for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and top with tomato, Avocados from Mexico, radish, and minced cilantro. Serve warm with sour cream and hot sauce.
Focaccia is of Italian origin and resembles pizza, but it’s a perfect dish for these Central American festivities. To prepare the dough you will need a small bowl where you will dissolve 1 pack of yeast with 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the mix is foamy.
Transfer the mix to a bigger bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of water, 3 1/2 cups of flour, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix until doughy. Knead with your hands, adding flour until it is soft, elastic, and it is not sticky. Once the dough is ready, add a little bit of olive oil and let it rise for an hour in a clean bowl, covered with a cloth.
While the dough is ready, you can start preparing the vegetables. In a medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup of olive oil with 1/3 of chopped shallots, salt, and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, mix well and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° F until the tomatoes are soft. Meanwhile, roast 3 or 4 poblano peppers and remove skin and seeds. Cut into strips and mix with the tomatoes.
Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Spreadthe dough by pressing with your fingers until it is even. On top of the dough, evenly distributethe pepper and tomato mix. Bake at 450° F for 18 minutes or until the edges are brown. Remove the focaccia from the oven and add chopped goat cheese and chopped Avocados from Mexico. Cut into squares and serve.
Both of these dishes are wonderful ways to celebrate posadas and novenas with loved ones.