It's Noche Buena and if you don't roast the pig correctly to get the perfect mix of crunchy skin and tender meat, you'll probably never live it down, because this is Latino Christmas and that means a perfect pork dinner is about as sacred as the baby Jesus. Wait, you don't know what Noche Buena is or how to cook Christmas Eve dinner? Keep reading for our guide to make your abuela (grandmother) proud.
First, Noche Buena is the Hispanic tradition of celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. It means Good Night in English and is also called La Cena de Nochebuena (The Good Night Dinner) or Navidad (Christmas.)
There isn't one uniform Noche Buena experience. Different cultures enjoy various traditional meals. Mexicans typically eat tamales and buñuelos (small doughnuts). For Caribbean Latin Americans, the main dish is often roast pork with rice and beans served with coquito, an alcoholic beverage made with coconut milk, condensed milk and white rum. Some Hispanics have embraced turkeys on Christmas after the U.S. holiday meal tradition. In the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, Noche Buena is a huge occasion for most Christians, who attend Simbang Gabi, Tagalog for “Night Mass."
Enough history. You came here to cook, right? Below are some of the best recipes on the web on how to serve a Hispanic Christmas dinner.
— Anthony Castaño (@CUBANO206) December 24, 2014
The Best Roasted Pork Recipes: Here's a Latin-lite version for those easing into the tradition. This Cuban recipe is our favorite dish ever and makes us very popular at parties. This recipe became famous in the movie "Chef."
The Best Black Beans And Rice Recipes: Fine, Martha Stewart isn't Hispanic. But she can still do no wrong in the kitchen. Here's her version. Cumin is the secret to most Latino dishes and Ingrid Hoffman shows you how to do it here. Because we know you love pork, here's a version with bacon.
The Best Coquito Recipes: We grew up eating Goya products and they never steered us wrong before. Try this recipe. A Puerto Rican version for your San Juan friends. This recipe has plenty of good tips to make the drink thick and sweet.