Sandra Gutierrez

Potato-based tamales called paches are commonly made in Guatemala.
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Along with the foundations of how to make great soup, my Mita taught me about different cultures through food.
While meatball soup can be traced back to ancient Persia, Spanish colonizers brought it to the Americas. In Honduras, this soup is made with chayote, tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini. Serve it with a salad for a full meal. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
In Guatemala, leftover stock from pots of boiled beef (cocido) is often transformed into this soup. Here, a simple stock from roasted beef bones approximates that flavor. If you're short on time, use the best premade beef broth you can find. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
Traditionally, locros are thick, vegetable-based soups, served mostly during the cold months of the year in Ecuador. They are meant to be hearty and filling enough to stand as a whole meal. Be sure to seek out achiote paste, as there is no good substitute. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
Vori means "ball" in the Guaraní language of Paraguay; vori vori is the plural form. The name references the spherical dumplings that float in the broth. The soup originated as a fusion of the cuisines of Spanish Franciscan missionaries and the Guaraní people. For the lightest dumplings, use clarified butter, also known as ghee. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
Sofrito is a flavor base made by sautéing onions and garlic in oil. In Latin America, each region has its own variation that incorporates native ingredients; the tomato-based sofrito here is common in Mexico. The key to the color and flavor of this soup is to fry the sofrito in the oil: it's imperative that it sizzles as soon as it hits the pot. (Stand back and use a long spoon!) Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
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This seafood stew from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, dates back hundreds of years and reflects the region's diverse population and history. It merges the African ingredients of dendê (red palm oil) and coconut milk with indigenous traditions of preparing seafood in clay pots over coals. Dendê is traditionally used for its rich flavor and beautiful red color, but you can use canola oil instead, as the tomato paste will still lend the dish a vibrant hue. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
Quinoa, the super-grain of Peru, has a creamy and supple texture that lends itself to recipes that are typically made with rice, like this risotto. It's high in protein and fiber, gluten-free and very filling. White quinoa is the most common variety, but you can also find red, black or multicolored quinoa--any variety works in this recipe. For a vegetarian version of this easy healthy recipe, double the mushrooms and skip the shrimp.
Sofrito is a flavor base made by sautéing onions and garlic in oil. In Latin America, each region has its own variation that incorporates native ingredients; the tomato-based sofrito here is common in Mexico. The key to the color and flavor of this soup is to fry the sofrito in the oil: it's imperative that it sizzles as soon as it hits the pot. (Stand back and use a long spoon!) Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
This seafood stew from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, dates back hundreds of years and reflects the region's diverse population and history. It merges the African ingredients of dendê (red palm oil) and coconut milk with indigenous traditions of preparing seafood in clay pots over coals. Dendê is traditionally used for its rich flavor and beautiful red color, but you can use canola oil instead, as the tomato paste will still lend the dish a vibrant hue. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.
Quinoa, the super-grain of Peru, has a creamy and supple texture that lends itself to recipes that are typically made with rice, like this risotto. It's high in protein and fiber, gluten-free and very filling. White quinoa is the most common variety, but you can also find red, black or multicolored quinoa--any variety works in this recipe. For a vegetarian version of this easy healthy recipe, double the mushrooms and skip the shrimp.
This healthy vegetarian recipe is hearty and satisfying. Don't skip the parsley relish (salsa verde)--it's easy to make and lends a tangy accent that balances the flavors of the lentil stew. We prefer French green lentils for this stew, as they don't fall apart while cooking; however, regular brown lentils (found in most supermarkets) will also work.
Ground beef cooked with tomatoes and briny olives can be found all over Latin America. This is a favorite Cuban variation served over plantains, starchy vegetables that look like giant bananas. You can also serve the picadillo over rice or potatoes, so this easy dinner recipe is versatile too.
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