While the holiday only receives tepid interest or enthusiasm in many parts of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has surged in popularity north of the border, where both Latinos and non-Latinos indulge all things Mexican, including food, drink, music and dance. It's also become a day of pride for Chicanos, surpassing the holidays like Independence Day and Day of the Dead in stature.
May 5 offers non-Latinos an opportunity to party too--although many simply use it as an excuse to bash pinatas, chug Corona beer and sip margaritas - not that there is anything wrong with that. There you have it - another holiday that has been 'stolen' . . .
Just in time I'm posting these three recipes that Paul and I whipped up last week. If you're looking for a tasty treat to include in your Cinco de Mayo feast . . . look no further. These three recipes were all in last month's Bon Appetit magazine where they featured a new column entitled 'Sunday Suppers' (hello, our group had it FIRST!)
You start off with a roast chicken that has a zippy chipotle rub. Once it is cooked you use it for amazing chicken tacos with a poblano and corn gratin to accompany it. Later in the week you use everything again but in a different recipe - Chipotle chicken tostados. It was relatively easy to pull together and tasted great.
Chipotle Roast Chicken Tacos
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus 3 fresh cilantro sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves plus 3 fresh oregano sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed in resealable plastic bag with mallet
1 5 1/2- to 6-pound roasting chicken, rinsed, patted dry; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
2 large onions, each cut into 8 wedges through root end, leaving root ends intact
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 warm corn tortillas
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, thinly sliced
Using fork, mix butter, all chopped herbs, chipotle chiles, and crushed coriander in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place chicken, breast side up, in large roasting pan; place reserved neck, heart, and gizzard alongside. Starting at neck end of chicken, slide fingers under skin to loosen, being careful to avoid tearing. Spread all but 1 tablespoon seasoned butter over breast meat and thigh meat under skin. Rub any butter remaining on fingers over outside of chicken. Sprinkle main cavity of chicken with salt and pepper; place all herb sprigs in cavity. Tie legs together loosely.
Place onion wedges in large bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon seasoned butter in small saucepan over low heat; pour over onion wedges and toss to coat. Arrange onions around chicken. Sprinkle onions and chicken with salt and pepper.
Roast chicken and onions 30 minutes. Scatter garlic cloves around chicken; add 1/4 cup broth to roasting pan. Continue to roast chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170°F, basting occasionally with pan juices and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed to maintain juices in roasting pan, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove roasting pan from oven. Tilt chicken, draining juices from cavity into pan. Transfer chicken, onions, and garlic to platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add 1/4 cup broth and wine to pan. Place over 2 burners and bring juices to boil, scraping up browned bits. Strain juices into bowl. Discard fat from top of juices.
Cut meat from chicken (reserve 1 1/3 cups for tostadas). Serve, making tacos with warm tortillas, chicken, onions, garlic, and avocado. Drizzle tacos with pan juices.
Poblano, Potato, and Corn Gratin
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 large fresh poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup coarsely grated Oaxaca cheese or whole-milk mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub 9 1/2-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish or cast-iron skillet with 2 teaspoons oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Arrange 1/3 of potato rounds, overlapping slightly, in prepared pie dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of poblano strips over, then 1/3 of corn and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat with 1/3 of potatoes, 1/3 of poblanos, 1/3 of corn, and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining potatoes, poblanos, and corn, reserving remaining 1/3 of cheese. Place pie dish on rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk half and half, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in small bowl. Pour over potato mixture in pie dish; press potatoes to submerge. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin. Continue to bake gratin until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Chipotle Chicken Tostadas
1 cup purchased refried beans, divided
4 purchased corn tostada shells
1 1/3 cups leftover roast chicken meat
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
12 avocado slices
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
Hot sauce, olive oil, and red wine vinegar for drizzling
Spread refried beans over tostada shells. Top with chicken, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese, dividing equally. Drizzle lightly with hot sauce, olive oil, and vinegar; serve with lime wedges.