Monday, July 17, 2006

Beef Tacos

Rob made dinner Sunday night and picked one of his favourite meals. I have to admit I really enjoyed it, even though I usually turn my nose up at tacos. Truth of the matter is that I hate the prepackaged mix that Rob seems to love, so when he said he was making them from scratch, I was more than happy. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen
and with a little reworking, will probably be a regular feature in our kitchen.
Beef Tacos

Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place. We prefer to let diners top their own tacos with whatever fillings they prefer. There’s no need to prepare all of the toppings listed below, but cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes are, in our opinion, essential.

Makes 8 tacos, serving 4

Beef Filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
table salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
Ground black pepper

Shells and Toppings
8 taco shells (warmed according to package instructions), or Home-Fried Taco Shells (see related recipe)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces), or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small tomatoes , chopped small
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
1 small onion , chopped small
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
hot pepper sauce , such as Tabasco

1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

2. Using wide, shallow spoon, divide filling evenly among taco shells; place two tacos on individual plates. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately.


Pamela said...

Those look great, I love Mexican food!!!

wheresmymind said...

Tacos YAY! Premade mix NAY! It's been forever and a day since I had a hard taco shell.

Lisa said...

You've given me an evil idea (it will be evil to you, anyway, and I think I'll do it just to drive you nuts -- although you won't have to eat the stuff, so... :) I'll make this salad we used to serve at a little cafe I cooked at in Ojai, California (this is eons ago). It consists of chopped romaine mixed with cooked ground beef (flavored with lots of Lawry's taco seasoning), thousand island dressing, and Fritos corn chips! Topped with grated cheddar, sour cream, tomato, and olives. And do you know, that salad was the biggest seller at the restaurant.