Cinco de Mayo mania
Food Network's Ingrid Hoffman suggests pulled pork and micheladas for a Cinco de Mayo party. Recipes below.
Next Tuesday, New Yorkers will swig margaritas in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Though its often mistaken as Mexicos Independence Day, the holiday actually commemorates the Mexican armys defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While the anniversary is celebrated somewhat in the Southern Mexican state of Puebla, it is celebrated most in the U.S.
In honor of the somewhat inauthentic holiday, we asked Ingrid Hoffmann, a Food Network personality, for some authentic Pueblan recipes. She suggested Tinga Pueblana, a Mexican pulled pork dish that's served with tortillas. It has potatoes in it, so its a whole dish in one pot, she said. For a party, its a less time-consuming option than making little appetizers.If youre looking to incorporate true Mexican flavors into another dish, grab some chipotles, poblano chilies, green tomatillos, cilantro and lime. And of course, you can always make rice, beans and seafood.
Of course, Cinco de Mayo is as much about drinking as it is about eating, and Hoffmann suggested washing your chips and salsa down with either a Paloma cocktail (consisting of tequila, some kind of citrus, sparkling lime soda and grapefruit juice).
If youre looking for a little spice, try a Michelada, which combines beer, hot sauce, worcesteshire sauce and chili powder.
As far as decorations go, Hoffmann said Cinco de Mayo parties should be kept casual. People are looking to party, so the more casual and easy you make it, the more fun it will be. For a natural feel, she suggests using corks and writing the name of the dishes you serve on those.
If you want to add a little bit of color to your party without making it look like one big pinata, Hoffmann suggests sticking to three colors.
Trying filling a sombrero with chips (place it in a bowl first to balance it), and decorate the place with traditional Mexican paper flowers (which are easiest to find online).
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 limes, cut into 4 wedges each
4 (12-ounce) bottles beer
Hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Combine the salt and chili powder in a small bowl and transfer to a flat plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each beer mug and dip it into the chili-salt to coat the rim. Squeeze the juice of 4 lime wedges into each mug. Add a lime wedge to the mug and fill with ice. Add 1 bottle of beer, a dash of hot sauce and a dash of Worcestershire sauce and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
Mexican Pulled Pork (Tinga Pueblana)
1 pound (about 3 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (2 to 3-pound) pork loin
1 yellow onion, chopped plus 1/2 yellow onion left whole
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
12 ounces raw chorizo, casing removed
5 small tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped (seeds removed for less heat)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
16 corn or flour tortillas
4 avocados, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Place the pork in a large pot of water. Add the onion half, the garlic, and the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the pork is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove pork from the water and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle (discard cooking liquid). Using your fingers or two forks, shred the meat into small pieces and set aside.
Break the chorizo into small pieces and fry it over medium-high heat in a large skillet or pot until it is completely cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the chopped onions to the same skillet and cook until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded pork, the potatoes, the tomatoes, and the chipotle chiles and cook until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes. Return the cooked chorizo to the pan and stir in the vinegar, thyme, marjoram and some salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
While the pork cooks, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and warm for 10 to 15 seconds. Flip and continue to warm until the tortilla is pliable and heated through, about 10 to 20 seconds. Place on a plate, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside; repeat with the remaining tortillas (or warm the tortillas in the microwave: stack them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth; microwave for 30 seconds and keep them covered until youre ready to serve).
Place the tinga in a serving bowl or bring to the table in the cooking pot. Arrange the tortillas, avocado, and cilantro on a platter so each diner can fill a tortilla with meat and accompaniments. Pass a bowl of lime wedges around.