Between Gluten sensitivities, Dairy/Lactose intolerance, Vegetarians, Vegetable haters, it’s sometimes hard to plan a group dinner that everyone can eat and that no one feels singled out during due to their eating restrictions. My favourite solution…taco party.
And not just any crunchy-shell-from-a-box-with-a-packet-of-seasoning tacos either (although there are fans of those crunchy shells around here.) I’m talking fresh tortillas with loads of different fillings so that everyone can customize their taco creations.
I personally make my own tortillas. It’s not difficult and they taste so much better than the store-bought ones (unless you happen to live close to a tortillaria…then lucky you! I don’t.) I own a tortilla press now, but didn’t when I started making fresh tortillas. Instead, I pressed the Masa between two plates and rolled it out to the desired thinness with a rolling pin…although a tortilla press does make the process easier. Don’t want to make tortillas? Don’t let that stop you from taco party fun…go ahead and get whatever tortilllas you like. (Shhh…you can even get those crunchy ones. I won’t judge.)
For fillings, I usually offer a meat and a veggie option. Here, I made a slow cooked pork shoulder in Achiote (Cochinita Pibil, to be exact.) For the veggie option, Swiss Chard with caramelized onions. You would not believe how good Swiss Chard tacos are! The recipes that I use is slightly adapted from Rick Bayless’ amazing book Everyday Mexican, but I really treat it like a “non-recipe” now and play with the quantities. For the Swiss Chard filling, you will need:
- A lot of Swiss Chard (I use two 8 oz containers of rainbow chard, but go with what is fresh)
- One onion (white is traditional, I often use what I have on hand)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or you can follow the universal garlic rule and add more)
- A big spoonful of salsa
Start by washing the Chard, but don’t dry it. You will need the water that clings to that Chard.
Slice the onion into thick rounds and cook it over medium heat in a large-ish pan. Cook the onion until it is golden and caramelized. Then add the garlic and salsa, give it a good stir and cook it for about 30 more seconds.
Now add all of the Chard to the pot with a sprinkle of salt and put a lid on it. The Chard will wilt down, so don’t worry about over crowding the pan. Cook the Chard for about 5 minutes, taste, adjust the seasonings and you’re good to go!
To complete the taco party, you need toppings! I like to put out a variety of things, depending on what I have on hand:
- Salsa (a variety is good)
- Hot sauce (again, a variety is good, but that is never an issue here due to my extensive hot sauce collection)
- Cheese (Queso Fresco and Queso Panela are my favourites, but I’ve used cheddar in a pinch)
- Sliced cabbage and/or lettuce
- Guacamole (you’re making my Guacamole recipe, right?)
- Pickled onions or peppers
Now put it all out and have your friends over to celebrate how brilliant you are!
- Large bunch of Swiss Chard
- One onion, sliced into thick rounds
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- A big spoonful of salsa
- Wash Chard, but do not dry.
- Cook onion over medium heat in a large pan until golden and caramelized.
- Add the garlic and salsa, give it a good stir and cook it for about 30 more seconds.
- Add all of the Chard to the pot with a sprinkle of salt and cover with lid.
- Cook the Chard for about 5 minutes, taste, adjust the seasonings and you're good to go!