Friday recipe: honoring Latino heritage

This weekend, in addition to enjoying the Beaverdale Fall Festival, you can relish the great cultural, artistic and even culinary offerings of Iowa’s ninth annual Latino Heritage Festival,this Saturday and Sunday downtown on the Locust and Walnut street bridges. Explore the diversity and rich cultural nuances of Latin American countries in the festival’s cultural booths, treat your eyes to art and a Quinceanera Style Show, tap your toes to musical entertainment and watch cooking demonstrations by Chef Tania (I’ll be vying for a front-row seat at her 3 p.m. demonstration on preparing chorizo and chicken empanadas with Costa Rican coleslaw). When you’ve worked up an appetite, the festival’s food vendors will be ready to treat you.

Photo: Latino Heritage Festival website

Speaking of Latino-inspired food, some time ago the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assembled a collection of “delicious heart-healthy Latino recipes.” Given in both Spanish and English, they include appetizers and soups, entrees, vegetarian options, side dishes, sauces, desserts and beverages. It was hard to pick one for today’s recipe, but I settled on “chickadillo,” or chicken picadillo, because of its tasty ingredients and easy preparation.


  • 1 pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless and cut into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Garnishes (optional):

  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons green olives, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic, and saute until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry for another five to 10 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through.

Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, lemon juice, water, cumin, bay leaves and raisins to the vegetables and chicken. Cover the pan and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the bay leaves and serve with brown rice, black beans and the other garnishes as desired. Makes six 3/4-cup servings.

Nutritional info per serving: calories, 162; fat, 5 g; cholesterol, 46 mg; sodium, 133 mg; fiber, 2 g; protein, 18 g; carbohydrates, 13 g.

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