It’s Mexican Independence Day! And while you may think today marks the anniversary of Mexico winning independence from the Spanish crown, in fact, it’s something slightly different. September 16th actually marks what’s known as El Grito de Dolores. The grito was the proclamation of war against Spain by Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo in 1810 in a small town named Dolores, near Guanajuato. It was Hidalgo’s plea to his fellow Mexicans to revolt against the crown that lead to the war’s first major insurgency four days later. Mexico would not be officially independent of Spain until September 28, 1821, after a long decade of war. Regardless, today is a day Mexicans everywhere rejoice, the day that launched their future as a sovereign nation. What better way to honor it than by indulging in delicious, homemade Mexican food. Here are five classic dishes as authentic as the grito itself.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Anyone who knows their way around Mexican food will tell you: not all salsas are created equal! Indeed, there is an incredible variety of salsas throughout the country. This one is a classic that starts with roasting the veggies to add depth and flavor. Get the recipe here.
Who said Mexican style rice has the be red and tomato-y? This vibrant, herby, cheesey arroz verde, which comes to us by way of Chicago Chef Patricio Sandoval, is a side dish served at many restaurants in Acapulco. Get the recipe here.
Chiles en Nogada
A dish famously written about in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate, chiles en nogada is also a recipe that represents the colors of the Mexican flag. As such, it’s a popular choice at restaurants during the independence celebrations. Get the recipe here.
Oaxacan Black Bean Soup
Sure, beans play a prominent role in the cuisine of just about every Latin American country. But in the hands of a Oaxacan chef, like Austin’s brilliant Iliana de la Vega, black beans take a uniquely Mexican turn, thanks to the inclusion of pasilla chiles, panela cheese and crema Mexicana. Check out de la Vega’s recipe here.
Like many of Mexico’s most beloved dishes, the exact origin of the popular stew called tinga is subject to a debate as fiery as the chiles that go in it. Proud pueblanos insist tinga is theirs; others say its real roots are in Oaxaca. But after one taste of this one, by New York City Chef Sue Torres, you won’t really care about where it came from—just how you can get more. Check out the recipe here.