Today's special guest is a top expert in hospitality and hosts a podcast of her own, "What Have You." Rachel shares numerous tips and recipes to create a fabulous Mexican spread. We discuss items you need to prep for a large crowd as well as advice on the clean-up afterward. She shares great ideas for hosting with kids, and we even branch out into the topic of bagels! Her must-have kitchen item is truly an item you must have. (Visit www.comeoverfordinner.com for the multitude of recipes, tips, product links, and more!)
Mexican Enchiladas and Buffet This is a great way to feed a crowd - because there is something everyone wants, it accommodates all diets, and people enjoy building their own meal. This is my standby for when I have no idea how many people are coming - rice and beans are so cheap that overshooting quantities is no big deal, and if you run out of fancier toppings that is fine!
Side notes: We serve this meal in paper trays like you get nachos in - which I buy from restaurant supply stores. The 3 lb size is good for adults and the 2 lb for kids! This also limits the first trip through the buffet serving size which is always helpful with a crowd.
Serve with a variety of the options below: (This is what I put on the buffet, but it happens in all different ways!)
Grated cheese or cotija
Cabbage slaw salad
Pickled red onions
Avocado or guacamole
Old El Paso enchilada sauce
Cilantro (finely chopped stems or a few leaves)
Shredded pork (recipe below), chicken, or turkey (OR cooked ground beef mixed with chopped olives and green chilies)
Golden blend tortillas - corn and flour blend
In a large saucepan, make a roux with a small amount of oil and flour. Whisk together to make a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add a dash of pepper and cumin. Pour in the enchilada sauce and chicken broth in equal parts. Add cilantro. Bring to a simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon enchilada sauce on bottom of baking pan. Tear tortillas in half to help them fit in pan better. Place a layer of tortillas in bottom. Layer meat, cheese, and sauce on top until all ingredients are used or your pan is full. End with a layer of cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly.
I think everyone agrees that pork shoulder is the best for shredding, but it is more work because you really need to remove the gross bits. Sometimes I sneak in some pork sirloin with it to cut the work down, but that is definitely cheating! I prefer a Dutch oven to a crock pot, but you can use either. My husband prefers to smoke the pork, and in the end we do it any way that works. You can definitely make the meat ahead and reheat for the buffet! This recipe is a great rub, a little spicy. If you make it in a crock pot, rub the spices on it, sear it in a pan with a little oil before putting it in on low for 6-10 hrs. If you make it in a Dutch oven, sear it in the Dutch oven before putting the lid on and baking at 300 degrees for at least 3 hours (depending on the size of the roast - let it go until it is falling apart and fork tender)
Recipe is per 10 lbs of pork, but it makes a lot of rub and you can dump what won’t stick to the pork in the pan on top of it.
3/4 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons cayenne
3 teaspoons oregano
1/2 cup dried minced onion
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
Black Beans: (These are so delicious and easy!)
5 pounds black beans, sorted
2-3 onions, chopped (or frozen chopped onions) (or onion cut in half for flavor, pull out at the end of cooking)
1 can tomato paste
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
Coriander, to taste, optional
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Better than Bouillon (or use some chicken broth in place of water) (After cooking, salt to taste)
Put all ingredients in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the beans by several inches. Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn it down to an active simmer. Add water as needed. When the beans are tender and cooked, season with salt. I serve these with a large slotted ladle, straight out of the pot!
Rice: (I actually bought a restaurant rice cooker which I use to make large quantities of rice at times like this. It works for some other applications like keeping soup warm on a buffet. But here is how you can make a ton of rice in the oven while you get other stuff ready! This will be faintly seasoned rice which works as a base layer to lots of other flavors.)
12 cups jasmine rice (3 quarts)
20 cups water (5 quarts)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Lightly spray a large foil roasting pan with oil and add rice, putting it on a baking sheet. Bring the water and seasonings to a boil on the stove. Pour the boiling water over the rice, stir to mix evenly, and cover tightly with foil. Put in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
6 cups milk
1 can mild green chiles
1 pound Velveeta
1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese
Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir to make a roux. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Add cumin and chiles. When it is thicker, turn the heat down and add the Velveeta, cubed, and a handful of Mexican cheese. Taste and adjust for salt.
Corn Salsa: Jalapenos, chopped finely
Red pepper, diced
Red onion, diced
Mix all ingredients together and let sit long enough to allow corn to thaw.
Toasted cumin seeds, optional
Chop first two ingredients using chopping attachment of food processor. Change to slicer attachment and slice grape tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
Angel hair cabbage
Mix all ingredients together. Let sit long enough to allow flavors to meld.
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