Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beef Tacos and Homemade Taco Shells

Everyone knows how to make tacos, so it seems a little silly to post a recipe, but I found this really great recipe in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. And instead of using a taco seasoning packet, you can make your own flavorful tacos without the added crap they put in the packet.

Here is a Test Kitchen Tip from the ATKFCookbook for Tasty Tacos:
Tacos made from those boxed kits usually include a stale tasting "flavor packet" containing spices, stabilizers, fillers, and chemicals. For a taco with real flavor, we found a simple combination of spices, along with some chopped onion and fresh garlic, tasted much better. And rather than cook the filling with water (as the packet does) we found that a little chicken broth and canned tomato sauce did wonders for the flavor.

My family and I all agreed, they were fantastic! A lot better than the normal.
Tacos are a staple dish around here. We probably have tacos for dinner more than any other meal, and I now use this recipe all the time. A lot of times, I will add in a can of refried beans also.

Beef Tacos

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup smooth canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp light brown sugar
8 taco shells (recipe below)

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a woden spoon, until n longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, and sugar and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

3. Divide the filling evenly among the taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately. (lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, ketchup, avacodo... etc.)

Now you can stop there and eat them in flour tortillas or the store bought hard taco shells, but I have found that making your own taco shells from corn tortillas is easy, and tastes phenomenal. It doesn't take that much longer either. Here is a quick run through for making your own taco shells.

1. In a small skillet, heat 3/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using tongs to hold the tortilla, slip half of it into the hot oil. With a metal spatula in the other hand submerge the half in the oil. Fry until just set, but not brown, about 30 seconds.

2. Flip the tortilla. Using tongs, hold the tortilla open about 2 inches while keeping the bottom submerged in the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip again and y the other side until golden brown, about 30 seconds.

3. Transfer the shell, upside down to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. For best results, use homemade taco shells immediately.


Jami Key said...

I usually despise tacos but this sounds really good!

beardmommaof4 said...

These were delicious! I will never make them another way again. Thanks!!!