Cinco de Mayo fiesta food

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By: Theodora Philippou

Theodora Philippou/Flavor 574

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day — that is actually celebrated on Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, honoring the day that the Mexicans won the battle against the French against all the odds in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

When Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the U.S., we like to make and eat Mexican food and drink, hold parades, watch mariachi bands and drink lots of margaritas and Corona with lime. This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on Monday, so if you’re planning to celebrate Mexican culture and throw your own Cinco fiesta this weekend, here are a few simple recipes sure to liven up the party (without too much work).

Serves 4-6

Salsa

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • ½ onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chiles or jalapeño (finely chopped, only use about 1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor or finely chop and mix.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ¼ onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor or finely chop and mix.

Shredded Chicken for Tacos

Ingredients

  • ½ chicken cooked and shredded
  • 2 cans (8 oz. each) Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tsp. White Distilled Vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 3½ tsp. Ancho chilis
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Oregano 
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 12 Corn Tortillas 

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, mix together tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and sugar.
  2. Pour oil and tomato juice into a crockpot and then add chicken to a low heat. Cook until the thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into thickest part of breast, about 3-4 hours.
  3. Transfer chicken to cutting board; reserve sauce in pan. Remove and discard bones and skin. Using two forks, shred chicken breast. Cook’s note: if you start with just a couple chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken, you won’t have to debone it at all.
  4. Transfer chicken to skillet with sauce, mixing to combine; continue to cook until sauce reduces and blends into chicken, and mixture begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes more. 
  5. To serve, spoon shredded chicken onto tortillas. Garnish with desired toppings. I used lime, cilantro, and freshly chopped white onions.

Tequila Naranja

Ingredients

  • 2 parts silver tequila
  • 1 part orange juice
  • A splash of orange bitters
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part triple sec
  • A splash of club soda
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup

Directions

  1. Fill glass with ice.
  2. If you don’t have simple syrup, you can make your own by heating up a one part water to two parts sugar and stirring until it dissolves completely. Remove from heat, and it will thicken as it cools.
  3. Combine all ingredients except the club soda in a cocktail shaker and shake.
  4. Pour over ice and add a splash of club soda.
  5. Slice off a sliver of the orange peel and twist it for a garnish on the glass.

Other recipes to try:

Pozole Rojo from Simply Recipes. I garnished it with avocado, radish, limes and fresh cilantro — so delicious.

Gazpacho from Yummly. A fresh, chilled recipe for a hot summer day.

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