Amigos and Amigas,
We’ve partnered with our friends at La Tortilla Factory of the best tortillas you can buy this side of the border—to bring you an all-planned-out-for-you Cinco de Mayo fiesta. It’s an annual tradition for the Huckle & Goose crew to deck the ceilings with papel picado and invite friends over for tacos and tequila, and this year just might be the most delicious and festive yet.
Here’s how to throw a party you’ll friends will be talking about all year:
But first things first. A taco party is only as good as it’s tortilla pile. Most out there are basically cardboard rounds, so you need to go with La Tortilla Factory’s Hand Made Style tortillas. We’ve searched high and low and these taste like you’d imagine authentic Mexican tortillas would taste, they’re soft, don’t break, and are now non-GMO. You can buy them nationwide or online always have a stash in our freezer. So stock up and let’s proceed with the party planning.
1. Invite everyone over via text, evite, or singing (mariachi band) telegram.
2. Make this papel picado over the course of a few days while listening to an audiobook or binge-watching your current show in the evening hours. We ordered this tissue paper pack, but you really just need a few sheets. Hang it up the night before.
3. Set the table the night before with bright flowers or tiny succulents for the centerpiece and literally just a stack of plates and napkins. If you’re making rice or beans on the side, add a bundle of forks too. The best part about taco parties is that all formality can be tossed aside, you don’t need to consult a table-setting etiquette diagram. What Martha doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
4. Prep a simple drink station where you’ll place the fresh ingredients the day of for guests to shake up their own drinks. Get it set up with plenty of glasses, an ice bucket + tongs, cocktail shaker, jigger, muddler, spirits, and simple written instructions on the signature drink. You can get the station going with a demonstration once the first guests arrive, then it’ll free you up to mingle or finish getting the food out and your friends will feel adventurous and accomplished shaking up their own cocktail.
5. Things you can cook/make a day or two before: pickle the onions for beef tacos, blend the strawberry syrup for the mezcal drink, cook the refried beans and reheat right before serving, bake the cake.
6. The day of, start by getting the beef cooking, it needs several hours to braise. While that’s simmering away on the stove, make the veggie tacos and the sauce. You can store the sauce in the fridge until serving time and keep the veggie tacos in the oven or sitting on the counter (no need to refrigerate); broil once you’re ready to serve for some extra char and to reheat. If you’re making rice, make that 30 minutes before everyone arrives. Place extra toppings on the table like hot sauce and fresh cilantro.
7. Fifteen minutes before, cue the mariachi band and have chips and salsa (or guac) waiting.
8. Friends are now piling into your place and shaking up gorgeous strawberry cilantro cocktails, some are sipping them already, there’s cheerful chatter between bites of chips, lively Latin tunes are playing in the background, and best of all, everyone is smelling the deliciousness from the kitchen and can’t wait to sit down and eat together. You’re sipping a cocktail yourself, effortlessly bringing the meat and veggie fillings to the table, warming tortillas while talking, wrapping them in pretty kitchen towels to take the table, delegating the warm pots of rice and beans to be brought out too and oh, someone grab the green sauce and pickled onions from the fridge, por favor! A quick scan of the table…yup, everything’s here. Let’s dig in!
Strawberry Cilantro Mezcal Cocktail (add to plan)
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems
- 2 oz St. Germain
- 2 oz mezcal, or tequila
- 2 limes, juiced, 1.5 oz.
Note: Use the remaining strawberry puree for more cocktails or a simple fizzy drink or drizzled over pancakes the next day.
- Macerate the berries: Toss strawberries with sugar in a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, tossing whenever you remember. The mixture should soften and turn syrupy. Transfer to a blender and puree well. If you’re not using this right away, store covered in the fridge for up to a day.
- Shake up a cocktail for you and an amigo: Muddle cilantro in a shaker, toss in a handful of ice and add 4 oz. of strawberry mixture and the remaining ingredients.
Shake, shake, shake, then strain into 2 ice-filled glasses. Cheers!
Braised Beef Mole Tacos with Pickled Onions (add to plan)
- 3½ lb chuck roast
- ¾ cup water, hot
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- 3 cups boiling water
- 4 dried ancho chiles
- 2 dried New Mexico chiles
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil, or bacon fat
- 1 yellow onion, large, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup beer
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 2 tbsp peanut butter, no sugar added
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 pkgs soft corn or flour tortillas, like our very favorite “handmade style” from La Tortilla Factory
Note: We were curious if chicken breast would taste amazing in this mole so we sautéed some, sliced it and added to the sauce. Our taste testers were split 50/50 about which was better. You could do the same and buy a smaller piece of the beef and make 2-3 chicken breasts to offer variety.
- Prepare Beef: Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking. It needs a good sear and cold meat don’t sear. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
- For Quick Pickled Onions: In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add onions and let sit at room temperature for a couple hours or refrigerate for up to a couple weeks if you won’t be using them right away.
- Rehydrate chiles: Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Place the dried chiles in a bowl and once the water is boiling pour over them to cover. Set aside so they can rehydrate and soften, about 10 minutes.
- Sear beef: In a Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoon of oil or bacon fat over medium-high heat. When the oil glistens, add the beef and don’t touch it for 3-4 minutes. Once a gorgeous brown crust forms on the bottom turn it over and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- It’s Mole Time: Lower the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
While the onions sauté, add the softened chiles to the blender but remove the stems and seeds. Purée completely, adding a little water if needed.
- Now back to the onions: add the garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, coriander, a few cracks of pepper and a few pinches of salt. Give everything a good stir and after about 1 minute, pour in the beer, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of pan.
- Add the puréed chiles, tomato sauce, chocolate, peanut butter, stirring everything together well. Toss in the cinnamon stick and simmer for 5 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and there are no peanut butter clumps.
- Nestle the beef in the mole, pouring in any juices on the plate. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over low heat on the stove for 4-5 hours or in a 325°F oven until meat is fork tender and easily shredded.
- When ready to serve, shred the meat, getting rid of any excess fat and toss the shredded meat with plenty of mole. Lay out warmed tortillas, top with beef mole, pickled onions, cilantro if you have it on hand and any other favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed, if you want extra heat don’t remove the seeds and membrane
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 lime, juiced
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- 6 poblano peppers, deseeded and sliced into ½-inch long strips
- 1 lb summer squash, sliced into ¼-inch thick coins or half moons if you’ve got large squash
- 6 ears corn, kernels removed, about 2-3 cups
- grapeseed oil, for roasting
- 1 pkg soft corn tortillas, like our very favorite from La Tortilla Factory—"handmade style" white or yellow corn
- Make Diosa Verde Sauce: In a blender or food processor whiz the cilantro, garlic cloves, jalapeños, sour cream, yogurt, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. You can also do this while the veggies are roasting.
- Roast vegetables for tacos: Preheat oven to 400°F. You’ll be roasting them in shifts, because they all have different cooking times.
- Grab 2 sheet pans. Place sliced poblanos on the first, tossing with about a tablespoon of oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Slide in the oven, and at the 20 minute mark, toss poblanos, and move them over a bit to make room for the corn. Toss corn with a bit of oil, season with salt and pepper (with a spoon so you don’t burn yourself), and roast for another 10 minutes or until poblanos are soft and slightly charred and corn is tender and bursts in your mouth. So total roasting time—poblanos: 30-35 minutes, corn: 10 minutes.
- While poblanos are roasting, toss summer squash on the other sheet pan with oil and generous amounts of salt and pepper, then spread out and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and browned in some spots. You can do this ahead, either a day before or earlier in the day, then slide everything under the broiler in one sheet pan to reheat and char.
- Serve! Using tongs, char tortillas over an open flame for a few seconds on each side, then pile in roasted veggies and drizzle on generous amounts of sauce. Take sips of your margarita or agua fresca between bites.
Rustic Coconut Cornmeal Lime Cake (add to plan)
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup coconut milk, full fat
- 2 limes, zested and 1 juiced
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- whipped cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 360°F.
- In a medium bowl whisk the almond meal, cornmeal, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a handheld mixer.
- After about a minute add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well after each. # Follow with the coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spatula, taking care not to over mix. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan and transfer to the oven for 35-40 minutes. The middle will still be a bit soft to the touch.
- Allow to cool slightly and serve with extra lime zest and a dollop of whip cream.
If people ask what they can bring:
Limes or this bottled lime juice that saves sooo much time