Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year? Cinco de Mayo is not actually Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is mostly celebrated in Puebla, Mexico – where the Battle of Puebla was fought. We also celebrate this holiday in the United States to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage. Independence Day in Mexico is celebrated on September 16.

History

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The French Army, ruled by Napoleon III, wanted to establish a Latin Empire in Mexico, so they traveled from Veracruz towards Mexico City. They encountered a resistance in Puebla. This was the last major city the French had to travel through before they arrived in Mexico City. The reason it was such a significant victory for the Mexican Army is because they only had 4,000 poorly equipped soldiers and the French Army had 8,000 soldiers. The Mexican Army somehow managed to defeat the French army on May 5, 1862.

Interestingly, if Mexico did not defeat the French Army, Napoleon III had planned to use Mexico as a base to help the Confederates win their war against the United States. How would life in the US be different today without the battle of Cinco De Mayo?

Now that you know the history, here are a few Mexican recipes you can prepare for your Cinco de Mayo party!

For me, the most important part of any Mexican meal I eat has to have crema. Mexican crema is very different from sour cream. It’s a little more runny and creamier. I prefer it over sour cream any day. So make sure you check out the dairy section of your local store for crema Mexicana.

Here are some recipes you can try out for Cinco de Mayo:

Picadillo

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • about 1/8 of a small onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small chipotle* pepper diced
  • 1 potato, diced into tiny pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced into tiny pieces
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Put a little bit of oil in a large, heated frying pan (make sure it has a lid). Cook the ground beef.
  2. While the meat is cooking, in a blender combine onion, garlic, tomatoes, chipotle pepper and water to make a liquid.
  3. When the ground beef is cooked, add the liquid mixture by straining it through a colander. If it’s too chunky, blend it a little longer. It’s ok if there is some stuff left in the colander.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes and carrots.
  6. Boil for about 10-15 minutes in a covered pan until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

We ate this over white rice and added some Mexican cream on top. Roll up your warm, corn tortilla and use it to help slide your meal onto your fork.

*Chipotle pepper – you can buy this by the can in your local grocery store. It’s usually called chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. It will give it a little kick. Add more or less depending on how much you like spicy food. Store the leftovers in your freezer in a freezer bag.

Taquitos

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • 15 corn tortillas
  • oil for frying
  • green salsa
  • crema
  • shredded lettuce

Directions

  1. Boil the chicken. Cool and shred into small pieces.
  2. In a frying pan add about ¼ inch of oil.
  3. Place a little chicken inside the tortilla and roll it up. Place the seam side down into the oil. Press down on the tortilla for a few seconds, so the tortilla stays closed. (You may need to microwave the tortillas for a few seconds so that they are soft enough to roll without breaking.)
  4. Repeat the process until you have a few in the frying pan. After a few minutes, using tongs or 2 forks, rotate the tacos. Once hard on all sides remove from the pan and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  5. Repeat this process until you have used all of the chicken and tortillas.
  6. Serve with warm green salsa, crema, and lettuce.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, soft but not mushy
  • ½ -1  lime, juiced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoon red onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ½  teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Cut the avocados, from top to bottom, so that you cut around the large pit. Place in a small bowl add the avocado and mash it up.
  2. Add the lime juice, pepper, salt, garlic powder and mix well.
  3. Stir in tomato and onion.
  4. Chill if desired.
  5. To keep the guacamole from turning brown, seal it with plastic wrap and press out as much air as possible.

Serve with corn chips.

Here are a few authentic Mexican dishes you can make and serve on Cinco de Mayo.