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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Broad Bean Soup
Sopa de habas, or broad bean soup, makes a regular appearance in Mexican homes and restaurants during the Lenten or “La Cuaresma” season, and yet cannot be considered an ancestral or indigenous dish, as broad beans originated not in the Americas but in North Africa as well as Southeast Asia.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Calabacitas Entomatadas
Lent in Mexico sees the appearance of “La Cocina Cuaresmeña” or Lenten cuisine, with its focus firmly on fish and vegetables. “Calabacitas entomatadas” is a very simple but highly popular Lenten dish which combines three of the "milpa’s" time-honoured inhabitants: squash, tomatoes and chillies.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Chilpachole
Chilpachole is a spicy stew or thick soup traditionally made with prawns or crab, eaten often during Lent or La Cuaresma. Although it is very typical of the cooking of Veracruz, it is served all along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and ranges from utter simple to downright luxurious.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Empanadas de Vigilia
Many dishes from Mexico’s Cocina Cuaresmeña are known as “de vigilia”, after the Paschal Vigil which is celebrated on Holy Saturday, the last day of Lent and Holy Week. The Vigil begins during the evening of the Saturday and lasts until the morning of Easter Sunday, when a special mass is held.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Gratin of Crab Recipe
With the arrival of Lent, La Cuaresma, Mexican cooks’ focus turns towards fish and vegetables. Jaiba Gratinada, or gratin of crab, is a typical Veracruzano dish, and while it is very popular during the Lenten period, its savouriness and richness has nothing to do with abstinence!

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Lentil Soup Recipe
Lentils are a post-Hispanic addition to the Mexican larder but they have made themselves very much at home and team up regularly with more native ingredients, particularly during Lent, La Cuaresma, in the spring and the Días de los Muertos, Days of the Dead, in November.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Salt Cod Recipe
Salt cod…. It does not sound appetising, nor does it look particularly attractive. But throughout the Christian world, it makes a regular appearance during Lent, and while it has a dubious reputation – hard, stringy, chewy, briny, horribly saline – when treated well it is utterly delicious.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Torta de Elote
Vegetable “tortas” or “budines” are popular vegetable bakes served during La Cuaresma or Lenten period and very far removed from pre-Hispanic dishes, as they are set with eggs and tend to contain dairy products, none of which made an appearance in Mexican cuisine until after the Conquest.

Lenten Cooking in Mexico - Tortitas de Camarón
Lent may bring to mind pictures of fasting, penitence, abstinence and “giving up” a food which you particularly enjoy, but it is also an opportunity to explore the wealth of vegetable and fish dishes which make up “la cocina cuaresmeña” or Lenten cooking of Mexico.

Mexican Antojitos - Chilaquiles
According to an old Mexican wives’ tale, chilaquiles are an excellent cure for a hangover, but excess consumption of tequila aside, chilaquiles are the most comforting of foods, satisfying, rib-sticking, deeply flavoured and very good for the soul.

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