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Mexican Fiesta: Tequila Chicken, Braised Pork & Chipotle Cream

June 22, 2012

This is one of our favorite dinner parties to throw!  It’s a crowd pleaser that always makes for a fun night and, best of all, most of the work is done ahead of time.  Whip up a batch of margaritas to serve when guests arrive and it gets the night started off on a fun and festive note.

Mexican Fiesta
tequila chicken, recipe below
corn tortillas
flour tortillas
chipotle cream, recipe below
salsa
guacamole
sour cream
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 small head of romaine lettuce, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled, or shredded cheddar cheese
hot sauce
green rice (recipe coming soon)

Game Plan:
The morning of the party (or even the night before) I like to set out all the dishes and label them so I’m not hunting for the right bowl or platter at the last minute.

Several hours before your guests arrive, wash the lettuce and cilantro and store in the fridge in a salad spinner or ziploc bag lined with paper towels. Prepare the chipotle cream (recipe below) and store in serving bowl in the fridge. Put sour cream and salsa into serving bowls and store in the fridge.

Shortly before eating, preheat the oven to 350°.  Wrap the corn and flour tortillas separately in damp paper towels then in foil.  Warm in the oven for about 5 minutes to warm and soften just before eating.

Tequila Chicken
adapted from Stonewall Kitchen Favorites
serves 2-3 as the only taco filling; 4-6 with one other filling and 8-10 with two other fillings

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup tequila
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper, minced or 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños, drained

place chicken in a medium nonreactive bowl or ziploc bag. Add the tequila, garlic and jalapeño, mixing well. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Light the grill to very hot. Remove chicken from the fridge about 20 minutes before putting it on the grill. Remove from marinade and grill chicken for 10 minutes; flip, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cooked through.


Braised Pork Taco Filling
adapted from Tyler Florence
serves 8-10 and makes great leftovers

2 dried ancho chiles
2 dried chipotle chiles
3 tablespoons olive oil
one 3-5 pound pork shoulder, bone-in
salt and pepper
2 yellow onions, chopped into 3/4″ dice
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 3/4″ dice
5-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
one orange, halved
one lime, halved

Put the chiles in a small bowl and cover completely with hot water. Set aside. In a large Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Generously season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Brown the pork well on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and put onto a plate; set aside. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, cumin, thyme and bay leaf to the pan. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles; reserve the soaking liquid. Tear the chiles by hand into the pan and return the pork to the pan with any juices. Add the tomatoes on top of the pork. Then add the soaking liquid from the chiles, straining out any seeds or grit. The liquid should almost cover the pork; if it doesn’t, add water. Squeeze the orange and lime into the pot and add the rinds. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 4 hours or until the pork is very tender. Note: the original recipe said to let the pork simmer for 1 1/2 hours but I found it needed more like 4-5 hours. Give yourself extra time if you are unsure. You can always make the pork in the morning and reheat for dinner.

Once the pork is done, remove the meat to a platter and tent with foil. Strain the braising liquid and reserve. Shred the pork using 2 forks. If the pork seems dry, add some of the reserved braising liquid. Serve on a large platter so guests can make their own tacos.

Chipotle Cream
adapted from Stonewall Kitchen Favorites
makes about 1 1/4 cups

Chipotles in adobo are available in the ethnic aisle of most supermarkets. They come in a small can and are very smokey and spicy. Start with the recommended amount below and add more if you like things extra hot. I like spicy foods and find this is spicy but still refreshing. You can freeze leftovers in a ziploc bag.

one chipotle from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo plus 1 tablespoon of sauce, plus more to taste
one cup sour cream

Combine chipotles and sour cream in a food processor or blender until smooth. Place in a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2012 9:25 am

    As your guests from this Mexican fiesta night, I can attest to the food’s deliciousness and your superb dinner party skills! You should add your margarita recipe, too!

    • July 1, 2012 9:21 am

      Thanks Sandy! We were having so much fun I forgot to snap a photo of the margaritas 🙂 I will definitely post soon!

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