Cinco de Margarita!

Written by Joe Stumpe

Cinco de Mayo long ago joined that pantheon of holidays — like St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras — celebrated by Americans of all cultural heritages. And just like those occasions, it requires the proper food and drink.

If you’re throwing your own Cinco de Mayo party, start with plenty of cold, bottled Mexican beer (and sliced limes, of course), and a pitcher of margaritas, frozen or on the rocks. Kids around? Put some bottled Mexican cokes on ice. They’re available in many supermarkets and really are superior to the domestic version.

For appetizers, you don’t need anything more than chips and two dips — fresh fresh pico de gallo and guacamole — which can be made in minutes, with a handful of ingredients.

For dinner, it’s carnitas, a dish of slow-cooked shredded pork, served on tortillas and accompanied by papas — chipotle-flavored potatoes. And finally, dessert — tres leches cake — which starts with a simple boxed cake mix.


2 teaspoons each: ground cumin, kosher salt and chile powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
3 lbs. boneless Boston butt, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup each: chicken stock and red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 large onion, diced

DIRECTIONS: Mix cumin, salt, chile powder and coriander together. Add the pork to the rub and toss well to coat. Put in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the pork in batches until browned on all sides, transferring browned pieces to a plate. When all pork is browned, turn heat to low. Add chicken stock, vinegar and honey to pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Add the onion, return pork to pot and bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender, at least 2 hours.

Remove the cover and increase the heat slightly. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the fat from the pork is bubbling, about 20 minutes. As soon as the pork begins to brown, stir regularly to prevent burning. It's done when it has become golden to dark brown and is nicely crisped. Shred by hand or fork.

Pico de Gallo

Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Onion, diced
Jalapeño, seeded and minced
Fresh lime juice
Fresh cilantro, minced
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients to taste. For best results, let sit at least 1/2 hour before serving.

NOTE: To make this into blender salsa, substitute canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes, and blend all ingredients until pulpy.


Fresh avocado
Onion, diced
Tomato, seeded and chopped
Lime juice
Jalapeño, seeded and minced
Cilantro, minced

DIRECTIONS: Remove seed from avocado and discard. Scoop out flesh. Mash half of avocado flesh and dice the rest. Combine with remaining ingredients, season to taste.

Tres leches cake

1 white cake box mix, prepared according to instructions
1 cup heavy cream
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS: After making cake, let cool 30 minutes, then poke holes all over cake with chopsticks or similar object. Mix cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk together, then pour over cake. Spread whipped cream over top and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Best (and easiest!) frozen margarita

One container (12 oz.) frozen limeade mix
Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur

DIRECTIONS: Place limeade mix in blender. Fill limeade container three-fourths full of tequila and one-fourth full of Cointreau. Dump into blender. Fill remainder of blender with ice, then blend until smooth.

Party tips

Wichita is lucky to have numerous Hispanic markets, many located in the area around 21st and Broadway. For flour and corn tortillas made daily, visit Tortilleria Rodriguez, 1859 N. Waco. For chicharrones (freshly fried pork rinds), pop into Carniceria El Guero, 524 W. 21st St. For coconut, pistachio, mango and other exotically flavored ice creams made on the spot, try Paleteria la Reyna, 2925 N. Arkansas.

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