Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a meal inspired from César Chávez. This month we focus on our heritage, our culture, our inspirations. Today I showcase a modest dish brimming with flavors of my heritage. Beans are if not one of the main staple of a Latina Kitchen. Beans can be easily included in every meal from breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert (dulce de frijol). In my childhood home beans were “king,” they offered nutrients, help to stretch the family budget and offered comfort.
“Ifyou really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…The people who give you their food give you their heart.” – César Chávez
As a child of a migrant worker César Chávez is one of our heroes.
Each year my mother and her siblings would complete the school year in
Brownsville, Texas and my grandfather would load the family for a summer spent
in California working the fields. Each summer was spent picking fruit or
vegetables side by side with her family. The money earned would help to pay for
the family home, taxes and help support the family for the year.
I often ask my mother about her summer’s spent in California and
her eyes brighten with memories. She loved her summer’s spent on the land. She
enjoyed seeing her cousins who lived in California, but spent their summers
alongside her working. She looked forward to her weekends at the local flea
market purchasing new records, trying on bell bottoms she found at discount
prices and her cousins urging her to go out with them to check out a new band
they had just heard of “The Doors.” Did she go? No, my mom was, remains her
daddy’s girl who never left his side.
“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or
disrespect for other cultures.” – César Chávez
When I think of César Chávez
as a current student, who one day hopes to finally complete her degree in
Mexican American History. I can only give thanks. I thank him for fighting for
the rights of every migrant worker, fighting to educate the young and fighting
to help his culture stay strong. So today I leave you with a modest dish, a
dish I can imagine César enjoying with a quirky smile.
Ancho Chile Bean Sauce
by Vianney Rodriguez, Sweet Life (serves 4)
- pasta of your choice
- 1 cup cooked pinto beans
- 2 chile ancho
- 2 garlic cloves, with skin
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 8 oz mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 cup crema mexicana (or heavy whipping cream)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- for garnish
- queso fresco
- Place chiles in medium sauce pan and cover with water, heat to a boil, remove from heat and set aside until soft about 20 minutes. After chiles become soft, removes stem and seeds.
- On a roasting pan place roma tomatoes and garlic, roast at 450 degrees until skin becomes blackened and garlic is soft, about 8 minutes. Keep on eye on garlic as it soften quicker than tomatoes.
- In blender place cooked beans, tomatoes, garlic and chiles. Blend until smooth, if the mixture is too thick add either water or broth from beans 1/2 cup at a time to help move it along.
- In a large saute pan on medium heat add olive oil. When oil has heated add mushrooms if using and saute until tender about 5 minutes, add blended bean puree and crema mexican. Stir to combine and cook until sauce is warm.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Combine with cooked pasta and garnish with cilantro and queso fresco.