Good Eats: Foreign Language Week continues on your table


Gazpacho is a popular recipe in Latin America and Spain. It is a healthy meal that consist of vegetables combined with tomato juice.

Davida Harris, Staff Writer

Foreign Language Week is the perfect time to learn about other cultures. Our school is fortunate enough to offer students the option of immersing themselves in different languages and cultures from all around the world.

A large aspect of culture is food, which varies drastically from one group to another. In many ways, learning about food is getting a glimpse into someone’s world.

A recipe native to France is slow cooker Coq au vin. This recipe calls for 6 oz. bacon, 1  chopped chicken (4 lb.), a pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, 1 lb. carrots, 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 3 c. dry red wine, 2 c. low-sodium chicken stock, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbsp. of tomato paste, 10 oz. of sliced cremini mushrooms, and 1/4 c. of chopped fresh parsley.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Next, drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, remove bacon fat (making sure to leave 2 tablespoons in the pan), and reserve the rest. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season it with salt and pepper. In batches, sear the chicken in bacon fat until golden brown, and place it into the slow cooker. In the same skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon bacon fat, and cook the carrots, onion, and garlic for 5 minutes. You can now add the vegetables to the slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with the wine to create the sauce, and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of it. Bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then add to the slow cooker, along with stock, thyme, bay leaves, and the tomato paste. Now, cook it on low for 7 hours.

When ready to eat, add 1 tablespoon bacon fat to the skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes, then add to the slow-cooker and heat for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Coq au vin is a challenging recipe, but perfect for when you want to try something new and you’re feeling a little French. It seems like a lengthy process, but the slow cooker makes it much easier.

A fantastic Italian recipe to try this month is Sicilian Spaghetti. To make this, you will need the following: 1 lb. spaghetti, 4 tbsp. olive oil, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 cup fine bread crumbs, 1 can anchovy fillets (chopped), 1 loaf rye bread, 1 cup fresh parsley, 4 tbsp. of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

To start, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Next, add the pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add garlic and anchovies to cook for about 2 minutes while constantly stirring. Stir in the breadcrumbs, and turn off the heat. Add and mix together the parsley and black ground pepper. Lastly, toss the anchovy sauce and hot pasta, sprinkle in the cheese, and get ready to serve. This authentic recipe is not your typical Gino’s fare, and it’s definitely worth the time for any pasta lover.

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish soup, and there are dozens of variations out there. To make a classic gazpacho, you will need 4 cups of tomato juice, 1 minced onion, 1 minced green bell pepper, 1 chopped cucumber, 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, 2 chopped green onions, 1 clove garlic (minced), 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. dried tarragon, 1 tsp. dried basil, ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp. white sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Use a blender or food processor to combine the ingredients. Blend thoroughly, but make sure the soup is still slightly chunky. Finally, chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Although gazpacho is usually served in the summertime, it’s a healthy and refreshing dish any time of year.

The last recipe is a Latin plantain soup. You will need: 1 quart vegetable or peanut oil, 4 green plantains that are peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, 1 tbsp. olive oil, about ¾ cups yellow onion (finely chopped), 1.5 quarts of low sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock, kosher salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a handful of chopped cilantro leaves. To make the plantain soup, heat vegetable oil in a wok or a deep-sided cast iron skillet until it reaches 300°F. Add plantains and cook. Turn them occasionally for about 5 minutes until softened. Move them using a slotted spoon, and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Heat up the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Next, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned for about 5 minutes. The last step is to add the chicken stock and plantains. Cook while occasionally mashing the plantains, but only until they are broken down and the soup is thickened (this should take about 20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the cilantro before serving. Plantain soup is delicious and easy to make, and it takes less time to prepare than a more complex recipe like coq au vin.

Each one of these recipes reflects the exciting culture of their places of origin. They are all wonderful dishes which can  be enjoyed with family and friends, bringing everyone together.