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Cinco De Mayo Recipes: Pomegranate Margarita & Chile Braised Pork Tacos

Ole, Happy Cinco De Mayo!  While this holiday celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla, we think that whether you’re Mexican or not, this is a great time to have a party.  Invite your friends, turn up the music, blend a few of our fabulous pomegranate margaritas, grab some tacos, and get ready to have a ball!  Here are our favorite Mexican recipes to feed a crowd: Pomegranate Margarita, Tomatillo Salsa, Chile Braised Pork Tacos with Pickled Onion. Happy Cooking. 

Pomegranate Margarita

1¾ C. chilled pomegranate juice

Kosher salt

1½ C. silver tequila

1 C. triple sec

 ¾ C. fresh lime juice

 Ice cubes

 8 lime wheels, for garnish

Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish 

Pour 1/4 cup of the pomegranate juice into a saucer; spread kosher salt in another saucer. Moisten the rim of 8 margarita glasses with the pomegranate juice, then dip 

the glass rim into the salt until coated.

In a pitcher, stir the remaining 1 ½ cups of pomegranate juice, the tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Working in batches, shake the mixture in a large ice-filled shaker, then strain into the glasses. Garnish each margarita with a lime wheel, a few pomegranate seeds and serve.

Tomatillo Salsa

2 ½ lbs. tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

10 cloves garlic

15 small pasilla de Oaxaca chiles, stemmed and seeded

Kosher or fine sea salt 

In a small saucepan, combine the tomatillos with enough water to come about halfway up the side of the pan, cover, and cook over medium heat until they are soft, about 10 minutes; strain, reserving the liquid.

Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft and well charred on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes; transfer to the jar of an electric blender. 

Add the chiles and toast for 2 minutes per side. Remove, tear them into pieces, and add them to the blender. Pour in the reserved cooking liquid, add a large pinch of salt, and blend until smooth. Add the tomatillos, blend, and taste to adjust the salt, as necessary. Serve with tortilla chips.                                       

Chile Braised Pork Tacos with Pickled Onion

4 large dried ancho chiles (about 3/4 oz.), stemmed, seeded

2 large dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded

2 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1 5-lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)

Kosher salt

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican

2 tsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 12-oz. bottle Negro Modelo or other dark beer

24 6″ corn tortillas

6 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro

2 limes cut into wedges

Place chiles in a medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, and set a small plate or bowl on chiles to keep submerged. Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain chiles  reserving 1 cup soaking liquid.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chiles, sugar, lime juice, and 1/4 cup reserved soaking liquid in a blender. Purée chile mixture, adding more soaking liquid as needed to form a smooth paste. Season pork shoulder generously with salt and spread paste over pork. DO AHEAD: Can be rubbed 1–2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before continuing.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, coriander and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add beer; bring to a boil. Add pork to pot; cover and transfer to oven.

Braise pork, basting occasionally with pan juices, until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Transfer pork to a large platter. Let cool slightly. Pour pan juice mixture over pork; cover and keep warm. (Alternatively, shred the pork with 2 forks and pour pan juice mixture over pork.)

Meanwhile, working in batches, warm tortillas in a large heavy skillet over low heat until toasted, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large sheet of foil; wrap to keep warm.

Serve pork with tortillas, radishes, pickled onions, thinly sliced radish, lime wedges and chopped cilantro. 

Quick Pickled Onions

½ C. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. sugar

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid.  Shake to combine and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.  Can be made 2 weeks in advance and kept in the refrigerator.