I’m Susy, and I am the Head Chef here at Luchito!
Even though my main job is coming up with new recipes all the time, I still find that I always need a bit of help when it comes to entertaining people at home. How do you make things run smoothly in the kitchen without any disasters, whilst cooking up that special meal? That’s always the challenge!
So I wanted to share with you some of my favourite recipes and tips that I’ve found very useful throughout the years. Hopefully they will come in handy next time you host a dinner party.
Why Mexican Food Is Perfect For Entertaining
I grew up in Mexico, and as part of a very big family it always amazed me how my grandma, my mum, and my aunties managed to feed all of us. However, there were two things that stuck with me.
The first one was that the food that always made everyone happy was comfort food! The fanciest food in the world wouldn’t have had the same effect as something my grandma made.
The second one is the very important fact that there were always a lot of one-pot meals involved. These were brought to the middle of the table, served with warm tortillas, a fresh salsa, and two easy sides. Everything was always to be shared and filled up everyone.
To me, passing food around with everyone making their own tacos while sharing stories and having a nice time is the ideal way to spend time with friends and family.
Always make sure you have a stash of Gran Luchito Soft Taco Wraps to hand, to have on the table. I always heat them, put them on a plate and cover them with a tea towel – this is a little trick to keep them warm!
Top Entertaining Tips
1. Prepare Ahead
The best tip I can give you is that nothing is worse than spending the whole evening in the kitchen without enjoying your own party.
Therefore, one-pot meals cooked slowly for maximum flavour will be your best friends. Put everything together in the morning so that it’s ready to just be warmed up and served once your guests arrive.
The same goes when it comes to salsas and sides. Try to leave very little prep for when your guests arrive!
2. Garnish Your Food
Obviously you want to make your food look special and beautiful once it’s brought to the table. Adding something simple, like a fresh garnish, can have that effect.
You can use fresh herbs, finely chopped red chilli, finely diced red onion, avocado slices, lime wedges or edible flowers. Anything that adds colour, and a bit of extra texture or flavour to your meal is a good idea.
I’d recommend you display your garnishes in small decorative bowls, and prepare these in good time before your guests arrive. You can cover them and put them in the fridge until they are needed.
3. Add Sides And Salsas
I think the best way to fill everyone up and make your table look more impressive is when a main dish is served with a few sides like Mexican red rice, or fresh guacamole.
I also love a good Mexican style salad or even warm Gran Luchito refried beans with crumbled feta on top.
In terms of salsas, I like to prepare a fresh pico de gallo, but I also love Gran Luchito tomatillo salsa or the hot habanero one for those who prefer something a bit more spicy.
What To Cook?
Here are my Top 3 Mains to cook when I’m entertaining:
1. Cochinita Pibil
This is a traditional dish from Yucatan, Mexico, where pork is cooked slowly in a marinade. This marinade is prepared with achiote paste, bitter orange juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and spices.
It’s delicious and looks beautiful and impressive when served. I’ve created an easy recipe for Pork Pibil here for you.
Carnitas consists of pork cut into small chunks hence the name which literally means ‘little meats’. Typically slowly cooked in their own fat confit-style.
The result is bite-sized glorious pork that is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Carnitas are perfect to prepare in big batches to feed large crowds.
Check out our recipe for homemade carnitas, an easy recipe you can prepare in the oven at home.
I love adding dollops of Gran Luchito hot Habanero Mango Salsa with this recipe into tacos.
Slowly cooked beef brisket or beef chuck delivers tender and juicy meat which can be easily shredded and served in its juices. Barbacoa is perfect for tacos, and is simply garnished with finely diced raw onion and coriander.
Serve it with fresh salsas and tortillas, and you’ll have a lovely meal to entertain your guests. For some inspiration, check out this easy beef barbacoa recipe that I developed for Gran Luchito.
Meat Free Options
What if I have guests over who don’t eat meat or that prefer a fish option? For those occasions I would recommend any of these two recipes:
1. Pescado a la Talla
A recipe made famous by Mexican Chef Gabriela Camara, and still remains one of the most popular dishes served at her Mexico City restaurant, Contramar.
A whole fish is served open and one side is covered with a red adobo sauce (a little spicy), and the other in a green adobo sauce (milder). It’s then grilled and served with tortillas and salsas. A delicious meal that not only looks impressive but tastes like heaven!
Here’s our version of Pescado a la Talla. I’ve made it easy to prepare in the comfort of your home.
2. Vegan Pulled Pork
I love that Mexican flavours work really well when it comes to doing a vegan version of almost anything. One of my favorite meals is using jackfruit as a meat substitute. I bake it in the oven with a tasty chipotle adobo, making a tasty vegan pulled pork, ready to be served in tacos.
You can also easily make a vegan pork pibil or carnitas version, substituting the pork with jackfruit.
Here is our recipe for vegan pulled pork.
Oh, and if you’re a complete carnivore, you might just like this too!
Drinks And Pudding
Save yourself some time when it comes to pudding and buy some fresh fruit sorbets to serve at the end of the meal. It always works to serve something fresh and not too heavy after a big meal. Pick up a few different flavours so everyone can choose their favourite.
I always try to keep my drinks simple, especially when hosting a big group of people. Craft beers or a good bottle of wine to have with the food is my go-to.
For a more special event, it’s fun to welcome people with a nice cocktail to warm up the evening. A classic margarita always does the trick!
A nice shot of good tequila or mezcal served as a digestif after the meal would also go down a treat.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Chef Susy’s blog about entertaining in true Mexican style! We hope we inspired you to try making some Mexican food at home and would love to see what you get up to in the kitchen. Be sure to tag us #granluchito and happy cooking from all of us!