Healthy Living

How To Throw An Eco Holiday Party + Recipe!

eco holiday partyFor years, we’ve thrown a holiday caroling party. It’s an annual affair that draws friends and family together to eat, drink and completely butcher beloved songs. I make posole, a traditional stew in New Mexico, where my family lives. We buy tamales, which are de riguer for Southern Californian holiday parties but unless you grew up with them–I didn’t–much better bought than made. This year, I tweaked a few elements to make it an eco holiday party. Want to do the same? Take a look!

  1. If your eco holiday guest list has outgrown your plates and glasses, disposables are the answer. But please don’t resort to toxic styrofoam and plastic–no matter how recyclable, they’re still made from petrochemicals. Luckily, you can find better options pretty much everywhere now: I found compostable bowls, spoons and glasses at Smart ‘n Final. If your local supermarket doesn’t stock brands like Earth’s Natural, GreenStripe or Transitions2Earth, request them! If enough people ask for more sustainable options, they’ll put them on shelves.
  2. If kids are attending your eco holiday party, stock up on natural sodas like our favorite Hansen’s Mandarin Lime. These are treats for sure, but they’re much better than those made with high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Choose organic beer and wines like those from Bonterra, one of my favorite labels.
  4. Decide on a main course, and ask your eco holiday party guests to potluck the rest. My recipe for posole is below; guests brought everything from appetizers to desserts.
  5. Follow the steps that I recommended for an eco holiday Thanksgiving and get your house ready well in advance. Then have fun!

Mommy Greenest’s New Mexican Posole for 40

All ingredients–except hominy–are from Trader Joe’s, and organic whenever possible. (If someone finds an organic or GMO-free hominy, please let me know?) Unlike most New Mexican posole, the spice factor of mine is very low–I want it to be as suitable for kids as for adults, so we add the spice to the bowl, rather than the pot. Because this soup is made well in advance, you can adjust the flavors to your liking as you go.

You’ll need:

One big-ass pot
3/4 cup chopped pancetta (TJs shoppers: 3 packages)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery (TJs shoppers: 4 containers Mire Poix)
6 cloves chopped garlic (TJs: 6 frozen cubes)
8 quarts organic chicken broth
30 boned organic chicken thighs
10 x 12 ounce jars salsa verde
2 x 5 quart cans hominy
1 cup lemon juice

Day before:

Put the pot on low-to-medium heat, no oil
Add pancetta and cook until beginning to brown
Add garlic and mire poix, saute for a few minutes
Add chicken broth and turn up heat to bring to boil
Add chicken and boil for 10 minutes until it’s cooked through
Reduce heat to simmer and remove chicken; set aside and refrigerate
Add salsa verde and hominy, reduce heat to lowest setting and leave on overnight

Day of:

Shred chicken with your fingers and add back to the pot
Add lemon juice
Increase heat so pot is at a very low simmer for at least three hours

To serve:

Set out bowls of various salsas–we like traditional pico gallo, as well as corn salsa–plus sour cream, sliced avocado, chips and hot sauce. Ladle up bowls of soup and let your guests add condiments. Enjoy!



    • Rachel Sarnoff

      Yes you can totally make it in a crock pot. I would do the first party (before the hominy) on high, and then let it go to low once you put everything back together. Hominy really IS posole, so it wouldn’t be the same stew without it–it’s basically corn kernels that have been cured so that they puff up. But you could totally use that same recipe and use beans or lentils–it would just be a different soup 🙂 Let me know if you make it, I want to see how it turns out! Thanks for commenting, Laura 🙂

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