featured-food-and-wineIssue 12

Rich in Flavor, Rich in Heritage

The Family Recipes of Amalia’s Cocina
By Nathan Lloyd

Although they were never wealthy, the Portillos always had each other, and they had their garden, with its riches of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Amalia Portillo and her mother Maria bonded over bubbling pots, simmering fresh chili peppers and other home-grown produce. Years later, raising three daughters of her own, Amalia continued expressing her love for her family through the preparation of authentic Mexican sauces, and since then, the tradition has continued. “Some of my fondest memories of my family were shared over a warm cooked meal,” reminisces Amalia’s granddaughter, Jamie Norwood, “and I want to ensure that I keep this tradition alive.”

The first steps toward sharing the Portillo traditions with the world were taken seven years ago, when the Portillos brought their centuryold family recipes to local farmers’ markets in the Central Valley and the Amalia’s Cocina brand was born. Shortly after, Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Supermarkets picked up their all-natural, authentic Mexican sauces, which have since seen wider distribution across California. Locally, families can find their sauces on the shelves of grocery chains including Save Mart Supermarkets and O’Briens Markets. “Our sauces stand apart in their glass jars as opposed to cans,” Jamie says, “because we have nothing to hide. Consumers are able to see the beautiful natural colors and fresh ingredients. Our sauces are a labor of love.”

Amalia’s Cocina offers five allnatural sauces: a traditional enchilada sauce, a chile colorado sauce, a tamale sauce, a green enchilada sauce and a chile verde sauce. Amalia’s Cocina sauces not only provide natural and healthy meal solutions but also make cooking dinner simple and easy. “As busy women, we still have the desire to cook authentic, nutritious meals for our families,” Jamie points out, “and this desire is what led us to start Amalia’s Cocina.”

Jamie’s aunt, Stephanie Jordan, agrees: “We are proud to offer families go-to meal solutions with our sauces and take pride in knowing that our recipes are allowing families to enjoy authentic Mexican meals together.”

Matriarch Amalia Portillo’s other daughters are always happy to share their favorite techniques for cooking with their family sauces. “All of our sauces may be used in a slow cooker with any type of meat,” advises Ida Norwood, Jamie’s mother. “Simply add the meat, cover it with sauce and when you come home from work, dinner is ready!”

Another Portillo daughter, Brenda Noel, offers her favorite go-to meal solution, which involves “taking a rotisserie chicken, shredding the meat and placing it in a pan on the stove, adding our sauce and letting it simmer for 3 minutes. The meat then is perfect,” she says, “and makes the most delicious tacos or can be used over salad.”

As a healthy, convenient, delicious and authentic option for family dinners, the heirloom sauces of Amalia’s Cocina have been featured on KCRA Channel 3, Fox 40 News and Good Day Sacramento. Now you can bring the Portillo heritage home by seeking out their sauces to share with your own family.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit www.amaliascocina.com

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