Her latest — and most daunting — endeavor begins with a brief overall history of the cuisine, followed by elemental recipes (sauces, spice blends, sofritos) that serve as starting points for dishes throughout the book. The rest of the chapters are categorized by ingredient — corn, beans, squash, and so on — each prefaced with an essay about their cultural significance.
Recipes are labeled with their countries of origin and difficulty levels, and reflect the way many Latin Americans cook today. Most lean toward simple, everyday fare rather than complicated special occasion dishes. Pollo en Coco, boneless skinless chicken thighs simmered in a golden coconut milk-based sauce unique to Honduras and Nicaragua, is one such example I’ll happily repeat. Equally delicious was the tangy green salad with orange segments complemented by crunchy cacao nibs (a nod to Uruguay, a major producer).
Whether you’re hankering to try your hand at homemade tortillas or a Peruvian twist on a pot roast, Gutierrez holds the key to more kitchens — each different from the next, all filled with deliciousness.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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