For Easter weekend, many Latino families in New Hampshire will bring their faith and customs to the table.
A lot of Christian and Catholic Latinos abstain from eating red meat all Fridays during Lent, in particular on Good Friday.
Throughout Latin America, cooking tends to feature fish or vegetarian dishes, always with authentic ingredients, like Latin American corn, Brazilian urucú, Puerto Rican coconut milk, Dominican beans or Argentinian heavy cream.
NHPR asked some Latinos in New Hampshire what they’re making this Easter using recipes they brought from their home countries.
Gustavo Quiñe, who previously taught us how to prepare causa de atún (tuna) for Thanksgiving, fondly remembers people eating fish for Easter in his native Peru. He says there are a variety of recipes and dishes on the Peruvian coast, but the most classic one is the cod.
He’s lived in Derry for the past six years, and still abstains from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. On Easter, he opens a bottle of wine and makes tuna stew for Easter. “My preparation is amazing,” he said in Spanish.
But what he enjoys the most is preparing a chickpea stew with chard as a side. This stew combines chickpeas cooked with sauteed bacon, onion, eggplant, garlic, tomato sauce, and oil. The final version has a creamy texture.
Paula Maltais, a Peruvian who lives in Concord, prepares a cod soup known in Spanish as chupedepescado. The base is the fish stock, sauteed onions with garlic, evaporated milk and the veggies and legumes of your preference. Paula uses squash, carrot, eggs, potatoes and rice.
According to her, other great main course options include the Peruvian causa, tilapiaceviche, or tuna cakes with lentils.
Jorge Arce, a WhatsApp listener who also comes from Peru, recommended a northern cuisine known as malarrabia, famous in the city of Piura during Lent.
This is a plantain-based puree combined with onions, oil, yellow pepper tomato, achiote or annatto powder and queso fresco. It usually goes as a side during meals. Arce has it with rice, beans and any type of fish.
Lola Villegas, a small business owner in Nashua, is not only passionate about entrepreneurship, but she also loves fresh food from her native Puerto Rico. Her hometown of Ella, Loíza, is famous for preparing the holy broth for Easter. This is seafood soup that includes chunks of fish, like salted cod or red snapper, and either crab meat or shrimp (or both). It is cooked in coconut broth and combined with root vegetables like cassava, squash, plantain and sweet potato.
To make this, cooks skip the supermarket and make the dish from scratch, Villegas said. She remembers that in Loíza, most people grab coconuts from palm trees and prepare their own coconut milk for the soup. They all seek the freshest possible ingredients.
Coconut rice is served as a side to this main dish. It’s also prepared with milk from fresh coconuts.
Our Spanish news producer, Maria, lives in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In her city de ella, as in most Ecuadorian cities, the classic dish to prepare on Easter is known as fanesca.
Fanesca is a creamy soup that has 12 different types of grains or legumes like kernel corn, lupini beans, chochos, and more, to symbolize Jesus’s 12 apostles, the group Jesus gathered for The Last Supper.
The soup is topped with cod and other toppings like avocado, egg, empanadas, and more. Normally, this recipe takes a whole day to make, or even longer, but it is the most acclaimed dish to share with the family during Easter (although Maria says Ecuadorians eat it throughout all of April).
One of our WhatsApp subscribers remembers that in her native Brazil, torta capixaba is a seafood pie that has cod, shrimp, shellfish or cuttlefish and more.
To make this dish the traditional way, it all starts with sautéed garlic, onion, oil, tomato and annatto powder combined with a seafood and fish stew in a clay pot. After adding herbs like coriander and parsley, it is mixed with whisked egg whites and decorated with more onions and green olives on top. In just 30 minutes in the oven, this pie would be ready to serve and enjoy.
During Easter, Roy Cáceres, a chef and tango singer who lives in Concord, remembers people in his native province of Córdoba, in Argentina, don’t eat meat either. The most classic dish is an Italian one known as bagna cauda, something similar to fondue but with cream and anchovies.
“It’s a meal, a soup, a cream,” said Roy. “You can put it over vegetables, over potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, green peppers.”
He says many immigrants from Italy settled in Córdoba which is why the tradition was born. He confesses that he hasn’t prepared bagna cauda in the US yet because the heavy cream here is different from the one he used in Argentina.
But he does remember some steps from the recipe, which feeds about four people.
Cáceres says to thinly chop around 24 cloves of garlic and mix it with 16 anchovies filets sauteed in oil or lard, and let them cook on medium heat for around 15 or 20 minutes, or until everything is incorporated Then, add 1 liter of cream and salt and pepper to taste. (You can read a complete recipe here).
Finally, you enjoy it, he says.
Elsa Morel, a WhatsApp subscriber, told us that the classic Easter recipe in the Dominican Republic is “a delicious dessert after lunch.”
Habichuelas con dulce is a classic dessert for the Lenten tradition in the Dominican Republic. It’s made with beans (habichuelas), milk, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, sweet potatoes, raisins and spices like cinnamon (you can even add pumpkin spice). The result is a creamy paste that can be topped with vanilla cookies.
Did we leave out a recipe you love? Email the Que Hay team at email@example.com. These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.