So I think it is no secret by now that Mr. Pea loves Mexican food. So do you think it was any question that we had to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the best way possible, a Mexican fiesta of course! We have been planning this for a while, and have been really excited to share our cooking skills with our friends. The fiesta was a blast we had so much fun and the food turned out great! I think we will definitely have to have another fiesta next year!
The first thing I want to talk about is the tequila we had, it is called Clase Azul and is the best tequila I have ever had! Mr. Pea brought this bottle back from Arizona were it is the only place we have found they sell it in the US. They come in hand painted bottles and each bottle is unique to its own. I am surprised that this bottle has lasted this long, you would think that too if you knew how much Mr. Pea and I love tequila. We agreed when we got it though that we would only drink it on special occasions. But don’t put this in your margaritas, this is the kind of tequila that you sip on and enjoy on the rocks, because it is that good. For making margaritas make sure you use any kind of clear 100% agave tequila, we used Camarena tequila. As for shots, I wouldn’t use the Camarena, I would suggest using patron or a bottle of 1800.
So we started off with some chips, salsa, guacamole and Ben’s signature Margaritas. We made two different kind of salsas, the first one was the tomatillo salsa that I have shared the recipe for in an earlier post. The second was a Chipolte salsa that was so good that I blinked and it was gone, so unfortunately have no photo of it, but no worries I will share the recipe.
Mr.Pea’s Signature Margaritas
3/4 Cup(s) juice (3 large limes) lime
6 Tablespoon(s) sugar
1 Cup(s) plus 2 tbs tequila blanco
1/4 Cup(s) cointreau
1 1/2 Cup(s) small ice cube
Combine the lime juice, sugar and 1 cup water in a glass or plastic pitcher. Cover and refrigerate if not using right away (but no longer than 24 hours).
Finish and serve margaritas
Add the tequila and orange liqueur to the pitcher of limeade. Rub the rims of 6 martini glasses with a lime wedge, then dip them in a dish of coarse salt. In a large shaker, combine the half of the margarita mixture with half of the ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
1 Can(s) 14oz with juices diced tomatoes
3 Clove(s) peeled, halved garlic
3 chipotle chiles en adobo
1/2 Teaspoon(s) mexican oregano
2 Tablespoon(s) apple cider vinegar
1 rehydrated Gaujillo chile (rehydrate in water for 30 minutes), stem and seed
1 rehydrated Ancho chile (rehydrate in water for 30 minutes), stem and seed
* * Note: You can also use the water used to rehydrate the chiles to stir into the salsa to reach the desired consistency.
In a food processor or blender, combine, the tomatoes, garlic, chiles, oregano and vinegar. Process until smooth. Pour into a small (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 15 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in enough water to reach desired consistency. Taste and season highly with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cool, pour into a bottle and refrigerate until needed.
** Note: This recipe can also be thinned out to use as a steak marinade or steak sauce. If used for this, adding water more water is necessary, to give the sauce the consistency of steak sauce and/or marinade.
-Frontera Guacamole Starter mix
-1 red onion
-lime juice (this is what keeps it green, not the pit which most people think)
-4-5 ripe avacados ( The way to tell if an avacado is ripe is to push with your thumb and if it is soft but not too soft then it it is perfect for making guacamole)
Mix all ingredients together and mash with a potato masher and enjoy!
We then decided to make two different tacos, we each decided to make one. I decided to make a New Mexican Chicken Taco with Black Beans and a Pineapple Orange Jalapeno Salsa. While Mr. Pea made a Chile Braised Pork Shoulder Taco with Pickled Red Onions.
New Mexican Chicken Taco with Black Beans and a Pineapple Orange Jalapeno Salsa
-2 Packets of Rick Bayless’s Frontera New Mexico Taco Skillet Sauce (with roasted tomato and mild red chile)
– 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 2 teaspoons of chipolte seasoning ( I used Penzeys chipolte seasoning)
-1 cup of water
Put all the ingredients into a crockpot, give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the skillet sauce and water. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours ( I think low and slow is always the better choice). When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork and/or tongs. When done , to assemble taco heat taco shell in a cast iron skillet, spread a little bit of black beans , place the chicken on top of the beans and then top it off with the Pineapple Orange Jalapeno Salsa.
Pineapple Orange Jalapeno Salsa
2 oranges, segmented and chopped
1/2 cup of pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
pinch of salt
**Note: I usually make this salsa with blood oranges instead of regular oranges, but they are no longer in season :(. I usually use this with fish tacos or even some grilled fish that we make, it makes a good topping for seafood!
Chile Braised Pork Shoulder with Pickled Red Onions
(makes 20 tacos)
• 2 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
• 4 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
• 1/3 cup Lime Juice
• 1/3 cup Orange Juice
• 1/3 cup Olive Oil
• 1 chipotle chile en adobo
• 1 jalepeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped (plus a few thinly sliced rings for garnish)
• 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
• 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• Pinch of ground cloves
• 1 1/2 tablespoon pork lard or bacon drippings
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt (plus more to taste)
• 3 pounds, boneless pork shoulder
• Warm corn tortillas
• Sour cream, hot sauce, pickled red onions, thinly sliced radishes and cilantro, for garnish
• Place the dried chiles in a small bowl, cover with very warm water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid, then transfer the rehydrated chiles and the reserved liquid to a blender.
• Pulverize the bay leaves in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and add them to the blender along with the vinegar, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, jalepeno, allspice and cloves. Process to a smooth puree, adding water if needed to keep the mixture moving through the blades. Press through a medium mesh strainer into a bowl.
• Set a large, 6-quart pot with a lid over medium-high heat and add the pork lard. When very hot and almost smoking, pour in the puree and stir constantly until it sears, concentrates and darkens into a spicy-smelling paste, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and season the sauce with salt.
• Preheat the oven to 325°. Cut the pork shoulder into slabs about 3-inches thick. Lay the meat into the pot with the chile paste, then flip it over to cover evenly, spooning on more sauce over the top to coat the pork well. Pour 1/2 cup water around the meat, cover tightly and place in the oven. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, basting the meat every 30 minutes with the liquid and rendered fat that accumulates. If all of the moisture evaporates, feel free to add more water to the plan to allow you to continue basting. Let the pork rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.
• Shred or pull the meat apart into-bite size pieces using two forks. Toss the meat to incorporate any of the leftover chile braising liquid, check for seasoning and add more salt to taste.
• Place the chile pork in a warm bowl and serve alongside the warm corn tortillas. Have your guests assemble their own tacos, adding their own garnishes to taste.
Pickled Red Onions
• 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
• ¼ tsp Pepper
• ¼ tsp Cumin
• ¼ tsp Mexican dried oregano
• ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
• ¼ tsp Salt
• 1/3 cup Cider vinegar
• 2 tbs Lime Juice
• Blanch the onion slices in salted, boiling water for 45 seconds, then drain and place in a medium container.
• Combine Lime juice, vinegar and remaining spices then pour over the onions. Add enough water to cover the onions, stir well.
• Let stand for several hours until onions are bright pink. Covered and refrigerated, these onions will last several weeks.
We also made two side dishes Green Poblano Rice (Arroz Verde al Poblano) and Refried Black Beans.
Green Poblano Rice (Arroz Verde al Poblano)
(makes 4 servings)
1 2/3 cups chicken broth or water
2 fresh poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed, and roughly chopped
12 sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon if using salted broth, 1 teaspoon if using unsalted or water
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 cup rice, preferably medium grain
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
-In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the broth and chiles, bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer gently over medium to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are very soft. Pour the chile mixture into a food processor, add the cilantro (stems and all), and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl and stir in the salt.
-The rice: Wipe the pan clean, add the oil and heat over medium. Add the rice and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until the rice is chalky looking and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer.
-Add the warm (or reheated) chile liquid to the hot rice pan, stir once, scrape down any rice kernels clinging to the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover and check a grain of rice: It should be nearly cooked through. If the rice is just about ready, turn off the heat, re-cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes longer to complete the cooking. If the rice seems far from done, continue cooking for 5 minutes or so, retest, then turn off the heat and let stand a few minutes longer. Fluff with a fork, scoop into a warm serving dish, decorate with cilantro sprigs and it’s ready to serve.
Re-fried Black Beans
-2-3 can of black beans
-1 tablespoon pork lard
-1 tablespoon Penzeys Arizona Dreming seasoning
Heat on medium heat and mash with potato masher, when beans are mashed and heated through, stir and they are ready to serve.
And we couldn’t leave dessert off the menu, it’s my favorite part (well the baking and decorating part!)
Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar (4 cups)
2 teaspoons of heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons bottled strawberry margarita or daiquiri mix
12 slices lime, each cut in half