Planning a fiesta themed party with a taco bar as the main food attraction is a great choice. You can create a grand and appetizing display of various seasoned meats (grilled chicken, pulled pork or ground beef), baskets of warm tortillas and bowls of freshly chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro as well as grated cheeses. Be sure to have a lot on hand as guests tend to make multiple trips to the bar.
If planning a large gathering then hire a catering company that specializes in authentic Mexican tacos. In Los Angeles, there are caterers that bring a complete set up of meats, toppings, salsas, fresh horchatas and staff. The tacos are made to order right on the spot.
Here is a wonderful recipe for traditional carnitas tacos.
- 4 pounds boned pork shoulder, cut into large cubes (remove as much fat as possible)
- 1 quart beef broth
- 2 cups chunky tomato salsa either prepared or homemade
- 2 cups fresh tomato salsa (pico de gallo)
- 16-24 corn tortillas
1 In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork, broth, and salsa. Add enough water to completely cover the meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 3 to 4 hours (or longer) until meat pulls apart easily. Add salt to taste if needed.
2 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard the liquid) and spread the meat out in a roasting pan. Break the meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.
3 Heat corn tortillas one-by-one either in a microwave or on a hot skillet. If you heat them on a skillet you may need to use a little butter or oil to help soften them. When air pockets form in the tortillas they are ready. To heat them in a microwave, place a paper towel on the floor of the microwave. Lay one or two tortillas on the paper towel (whatever will fit so there is only one layer). Microwave on high heat for 10 seconds per tortilla (some brands of tortillas require 20 seconds each). Keep warm tortillas wrapped in a clean cloth towel for serving.
To serve, double up the tortillas and place a few spoonfuls of the carnitas on them. Top with salsa. Serve with grated lettuce (that has been lightly salted and sprinkled with vinegar), beans, avocados, and/or grated cheese.
Yield: Serves 6-8.
Fresh Pico De Gallo
1 white onion, finely chopped
4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 or 3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
(Makes 2 ½ cups)