Monday, March 25, 2013

Beef Tacos

I’ve eaten in a lot of good Mexican restaurants, but none of them has ever served a decent taco.  Their shells are thin and brittle, their filling is bland and skimpy, and they’re usually cold.  This recipe corrects all of those problems.  Warning!  You’ll never want to eat at Taco Bell again!  This is also way better than those boxed taco kits you can buy at the grocery store.   Come on, think outside the box!   (makes 8 tacos)

Chef’s Note:  We used to make our own refried beans from scratch, but they were so rich they always made Kay sick.  Oh well.  Now we stick to the low-fat canned variety.

½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tbl. canola oil, plus enough canola oil to cover 1 ¼ deep in a pan for frying the shells
1 tbl. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup taco sauce or picante sauce
1/3 cup water (or beef broth)
dash of salt
dash of ground black pepper
1 can low-fat refried beans
For toppings try:  shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped black olives, chopped onions, chunks of avocado (or guacamole), Chile peppers, sour cream, and shredded cheddar

·         Prepare the corn tortillas (see recipe on thisblog)
·         Put 2 tbl. canola oil in pan and sautĂ© onions about 5 minutes, until lightly browned
·         Add ground beef, cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, until thoroughly cooked, adding the cilantro about half way through cooking
·         Reduce heat to medium-low
·         Add garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and paprika
·         Continue cooking and stirring about one minute
·         Add taco or picante sauce (whichever you prefer) and water (or broth)
·         Add salt and ground black pepper to taste
·         Continue cooking over medium-low heat slowly until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally
·         Stir in the refried beans (yes, mix them with the beef mixture)
·         Heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes (add a little water if mixture seems too dry)
·         Remove from heat and set aside for later use
·         In a separate pan, heat about 1 ¼ inch of canola oil to 375° over medium heat
·         Using tongs, place one corn tortilla in the hot oil, then immediately flip onto the other side
·         Using a spoon, quickly shape it into a “U” (see video below), and flip often to brown both sides of the taco shell (if the oil seems too hot reduce heat to 350°)
·         Repeat until all shells are fried and curled, then drain them upside down on a paper towel
·         Heat oven to 325°
·         Place shells upright on a baking sheet and fill with the meat mixture
The finished shells, ready for the meat/bean mixture.
·         Bake the meat-filled shells for about 7-8 minutes (this keeps the bottom of the shells soft so they don’t crack and fall apart when you eat them!)
·         Remove from oven, and top with all your favorite toppings (lettuce, tomato, taco sauce, etc.) and serve.  Yum!  Goes great with a cold Corona with lime!

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