A Cinco de Mayo (or Anytime) Mexican Feast!

A Cinco de Mayo (or Anytime) Mexican Feast!
By Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod

Cinco de Mayo marks the annual celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It’s a festive day filled with colorful celebrations and delightful food and drink. And, the great news for those of you on a gluten-free diet, is that Cinco de Mayo menus are typically filled with naturally gluten-free goodies like corn tortilla enchiladas, masa (corn) tamales and corn chips to dip in fresh salsas and guacamoles. Here are few of my all-time favorites.

On the Menu:
Pico de Gallo
Mango Guacamole
Beef Tamales
Enchilada Pie
Pineapple Ginger Margaritas

Pico de Gallo 
Yield: 6 servings

· 4 ripe tomatoes, finely diced 
· 1 red onion, finely diced
· ½ cup finely minced cilantro
· 1 tablespoon lime juice
· 1 teaspoon salt
· Corn chips, for dipping
· Optional: stir finely chopped jalapeno into the salsa for a spicier taste.

1. Mix all ingredients together and serve with corn chips.

Mango Guacamole
Yield: 8 servings

· 4 Haas avocados, peeled and seed removed 
· 1 tablespoon lime juice
· 1 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
· 1 cup finely chopped mango
· 1 tomato, finely chopped
· ½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a mixing bowl, mash avocado until smooth. Mix in lime juice to prevent browning.Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with corn chips.

Beef Tamales
Yield: 8 tamales 

For the corn husks and dough
· 8 large corn husks    
· 1 gallon water
· 3 cups masa (corn flour) 
· 1 ½ cups water
· 1 cup chicken stock
· 1 tablespoon butter, melted
· 2 teaspoons salt
· 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the filling and serving
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 cup diced yellow onion
· 1 garlic clove, minced
· 1 pound ground beef
· 1 tablespoon chili powder
· 1 tablespoon ground cumin
· 1 tablespoon paprika
· 1 teaspoon salt
· ½ cup water

1. In a large bowl, soak corn husks in the gallon of water for 2 to 3 hours to soften before use.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the masa, 1½ cups water, chicken stock, butter, salt, and vegetable oil and mix on medium speed until a smooth dough forms. Add additional water as needed and mix to make a pasty dough.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt; mix together well, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water (or enough to just enough to cover the meat) and cook, stirring constantly until the beef is browned and fully cooked, no pink spots remaining, 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Smear the masa dough generously into each softened corn husk, coating all the way to the edges. Add 2 tablespoons of the meat to the center of dough. Roll the corn husk closed so the dough encircles the meat.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the tamales to a steamer basket over the pot and steam the tamales until the corn husks easily pull away from the dough, about 40 minutes.

Enchilada Pie
Yield: 6 servings

For the Enchilada Sauce  
· 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
· 2 tablespoons ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon chili powder
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
· Salt, to taste
· Pepper, to taste

For the Filling
· 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
· 1 yellow onion, finely diced
· 1 tablespoon minced garlic
· 1 pound ground beef or turkey
· ¼ cup water
· 1 tablespoon ground cumin
· ½ teaspoon chili powder
· Salt, to taste
· 1 package corn tortillas (18 tortillas)
· 1 (14 ounce) can black beans
· 4 cups grated cheese (we used a cheddar/jack blend)
· Optional Toppings: Guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, mango salsa guacamole

1. For the sauce, combine the tomato sauce, ground cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to assemble enchilada pie.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Add in the ground beef or ground turkey and the water, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked and no pink spots remain. Season with salt. Turn off heat and set aside until ready to assemble enchilada pie.
5. In a 13 x 9” glass baking dish, line the bottom with 6 corn tortillas. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce—about ¼ of the sauce—over the tortillas. Arrange all of the black beans on top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1 cup of grated cheese on top of the beans.
6. Add a second layer of 6 corn tortillas and spread a small amount of enchilada sauce—another ¼ of the sauce—over these tortillas. Add all of the ground beef mixture to the pie and spread out in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 cup of grated cheese on top of the beef.
7. Add a third layer of 6 corn tortillas and pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the pie and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the enchilada pie is bubbling and golden brown on top.
8. Serve with guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and mango guacamole.

Pineapple Ginger Margarita
Yield: 4 servings

· 1 cup pineapple juice 
· ½ cup club soda
· 1 ½ cups frozen pineapple
· 2 ½ cups ice cubes
· 1 tablespoon sugar
· 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
· ½ cup tequila
· 4 lime wedges
· Salt for garnish

In a blender, combine pineapple juice, club soda, and pineapple. Cover and puree. Add the ice cubes, sugar, fresh ginger, and tequila, and puree until smooth. Using the lime wedges, moisten the rim of serving glasses. Dip the rims in the salt and coat well. Pour the margarita mixture equally into the four glasses.

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3 comments (Add your own)

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