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Latin Twist: Tapas para las Fiestas Navideñas–Tapas for Holiday Parties!

There’s a thrill to rediscovering a recipe you made and enjoyed a long time ago. This is the case for me with panuchos. I first “discovered” them in Mexico in 2004. Well, eight years later, I realize how much I’ve missed them…and want to share them with you!

Now you know I’m the first to say something is simple when it’s simple; this is not so simple but, mis queridos amigos, I promise it is worth the work! This time of year we are either going to or hosting fiestas. Why not try something unique?  Panuchos—small bites of chicken topped with orange juice,  and brown sugar-sweetened sautéed red onions—are festive! (And, wow, so delicious!) I first tried them in Mexico City (or maybe even Cuernavaca?!), but they hail principally from the Yucatán region.

Another reason they’re fun to bring or serve at a party is that they don’t need to be warm; room temperature is just fine! Perfect with a Sancerre (my favorite these days…) or an ice-cold Negra Modelo (always a favorite!), or a festive cocktail—or apple cider, these are sure to be a hit! ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!



Latin Twist: Tapas para las Fiestas Navideñas–Tapas for Holiday Parties!

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 panuchos

Latin Twist: Tapas para las Fiestas Navideñas–Tapas for Holiday Parties!

Panuchos (from Mambo Mixers, ©2005, Arlen Gargagliano) Photo by Dasha Wright


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups cooked shredded (into bite-size pieces) chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon achiote (ground annatto seeds; available at Latin American markets)
  • 1 dozen arepas (smaller ones! See the recipe here!)
  • 1/2 cup refried black beans
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Pour the vegetable oil into a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to soften.
  3. Cut 1 orange in half and squeeze the juice over the onion.
  4. Add the vinegar and brown sugar. Let simmer until the liquid evaporates.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In a medium-size bowl, combine the shredded chicken breast, achiote and juice from the remaining orange and mix well.
  7. Arrange the arepas on a serving platter.
  8. Then, using a teaspoon, spread a spoonful of refried beans on each arepa.
  9. Then add a small amount of shredded chicken.
  10. Top with the onion, and a sprinkle of cilantro, and serve!
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2012/12/14/latin-twist-tapas-para-las-fiestas-navidenas-tapas-for-holiday-parties/ [2]