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Growing up in Honduras, Edwin Sandoval never saw men cooking. Luckily for visitors to his stall inside Greenwood Village’s Grange Hall, that changed when the chef moved to the United States at age 10 in 2002. “That’s one of the things that made me leap into the kitchen, because that cultural stigma of being a man and being in the kitchen [wasn’t there],” Sandoval says. After honing his skills at local spots such as Beatrice & Woodsley, Spuntino, and Brazen, Sandoval felt pulled back to the cuisine of Honduras and started hosting pop-up dinners at venues around the city before opening his first eatery, Xatrucho, this past January. Weekday diners can enjoy shredded brisket, mole-negro-braised chicken tacos, and gluten-free pastelitos (a corn-based Honduran specialty similar to an empanada), but we recommend brunching on Sandoval’s favorite childhood meal: a sweet and savory Honduran breakfast dish he used to eat with his grandmother.
Breaking Down Sandoval’s Honduran Breakfast
1. Fresh, house-made sour cream serves as the bottom layer of the dish.
2. Sandoval cuts plantains (that have ripened for five to seven days until they are dark brown) into one-inch pieces and caramelizes them in a deep fryer.
3. The chef blends garlic, tomato, onion, green bell pepper, and herbs into a chunky, aromatic sofrito sauce, just like how his grandmother and sister make the condiment in Honduras.
4. Red beans that soaked overnight are cooked in water with cumin, garlic, and red onion. The addition of a little sofrito sauce provides extra flavor.
5. A fried egg crests the top, and the entire plate is showered with queso seco, an unpasteurized, naturally funky cheese Sandoval imports from Honduras.
6. Sandoval makes a spicy salsa—a cross between Honduran hot sauce and sambal (a fiery paste) to serve on the side—from a mixture of Fresno chiles, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, red onion, and a pepper-stem-infused simple syrup that adds a hint of sweetness.
What’s in a Name?
Xatrucho (pronounced “ka-troo-cho”) is an ode to “Catrachos,” a term many Latinos use to refer to Hondurans. That moniker derives from the name of famed Honduran General Florencio Xatruch, who led Central American forces in the 1850s. Combining the two, Sandoval says, honors both the country’s modern-day culture and its history—just like his food.