This recipe is sponsored by Azuñia Tequila however the recipe concept is my own.
Celebrate the Holiday with Traditional Foods & Drinks of Mexico
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo isn’t about over partying, downing numerous tequila shots or over indulging on nachos. Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, which commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, is a reason to celebrate, but in a different way. It is a celebration of Mexico’s heritage and traditions, observing this proud country’s richness, boldness, diversity of foods and authenticity of flavors. In San Antonio, my home town, there are many Cinco de Mayo festivities which take place around Market Square downtown including traditional dances, crafts and of course the long-established foods and drinks of Mexico.
Mexico has a very rich and colorful history as diverse as the country itself. With an area of 2 million square kilometers and comprising 32 states with rich agricultural farming regions, beautiful coastal areas, arid deserts, beautiful mountainous terrain and tropical rain forests, you can also expect a wide variety of cuisines. From rich sauces made with spicy, bold chilies, seafood dishes fresh from the oceans, to grilled meats from the traditional open hardwood pits prepared by vaqueros, the flavors of Mexico are many.
I personally have enjoyed Mexico’s elaborate gourmet cuisine from 5 star restaurants, delighted in fresh seafood at beach side huts and savored flavorful simple foods from street vendors on my many travels to this country. I have liked them all but the ones I have found most satisfying were the local street fare.
One of these that hits the top of the charts for me is the Street Corn (Elotes), a corn on the cob slathered in a creamy lime chili sauce and cheese. (Corn, Maize, is an important part of Mexico’s history introduced by indigenous people there over 10,000 years ago.) Just thinking about this dish brings up pleasant memories of food carts on small town streets with wonderful aromas wafting through the air on a lazy day or during a traditional fiesta.
Getting prepared for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration, I have come up with an easy recipe for enjoying the flavors of this favorite corn dish. It can be enjoyed with seafood or meat like beef ribs or cabrito, cooked on the grill. This casserole goes with just about anything! And to drink, enjoy an agua fresca made with fresh fruit, a Mexican Cerveza or a refreshing tequila cocktail like The Silk Road made from authentic tequila like Azuñia Tequila.
Azuñia Tequila is having a campaign to find the most delicious, authentic, and grown-up Cinco de Mayo recipe. The winner of the campaign will be their brand ambassador for 2016. If you like this recipe, go to http://www.azuniatequila.com/blog/cinco-de-mayo-recipe-contest/ to vote. Voting runs April 18 – 29. You are allowed to vote every day during the campaign, so please come back every day to help me win. For your participation you will be entered for a chance to win a Grand Prize of 1 full suite of Azuñia tequila, a home bar tool set, and a home cocktail mixing book.
Mexican Street Corn Casserole
8 bacon slices
6 cups fresh sweet corn kernels (about 8 ears) (you can substitute 2-16 oz packages frozen corn)
1 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1-2, depending of taste, jalapenos, diced (seeds and membranes removed)
6 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup half-and-half
Juice from 1/2 lime
Chili Powder for Fruits & Vegetables (I use Trechas)
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 6-8 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Coarsely crumble bacon and reserve 2 Tbs. for garnish.
Sauté corn and next 3 ingredients in hot drippings in skillet over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until tender. Add cream cheese and half-and-half, stirring until cream cheese melts. Stir in lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with reserved bacon, thinly sliced limes and cilantro if desired. Sprinkle with chili powder.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!