I have been in love with tacos since I first made them in my 5th grade Home Economics class at Minue School. Since that time I have come to adore Mexican food. I know I have told you all this before, but it bears repeating because, well this is my blog and I said so dammit! Seriously though, I make some form of Mexican food at least once a week. My teens adore tacos. For a number of years I use to make them the way most people make them, a pound of ground beef, a packet of commercial brand taco seasoning, some water and call it a day. The basic accompaniments of tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and cheese and it was a meal, paired with my Mexican rice and beans and packaged taco shells.
Not that there is anything wrong with that, because my kids love that too, but as I became a culinary student and started really getting into cooking the last 20 years or so, I ditched my Mexican spice packet and started using my Mexican arsenal of flavors. Chipotle Chili powder, cumin, ground cumin seeds, fresh garlic and onions, smokey paprika, for extra spice even a piece of chili in adobo. The secret to making this taste authentic, is to mash the meat with a potato masher, and I even discovered a secret ingredient that makes this taste like the tacos of Mexico.
I promise you that you will up your tacos exponentially, if you follow this method, of making tacos. It is not earth shattering by any means, but it will make you a rock star in the kitchen. At least I believe I am in mine! LOL!! I often eat this without any taco shells. But when I want an authentic street taco, I make my own soft tacos, but this is equally good with commercial flour tortillas and corn taco shells, I also enjoy this as a taco salad with my shredded lettuce, tomatoes, fresh sliced jalapenos, black olives, shredded mexican cheese blend, a dollop of my lime crema and some fresh cilantro.
This is a Mexican feast on a plate my friends. Give it a try and be a rock star in your kitchen tonight! This is equally good as a taco dip appetizer. I will have to post that on another day! You can jazz it up anyway you wish. Feel free to use store-bought tortillas but this recipe is so quick and easy, once you make homemade tortillas you will not want to buy flour tortillas again.
Ground Beef Street Tacos
A Mexican Classic, that's quick and easy and full of flavor!
- 1 lb. of ground beef some fat is needed use 80 or 85% mix
- 1 tbsp. of solid vegetable shortening (Crisco preferred)
- 1/2 chopped onions
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp. of Chipotle chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. of chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cumin
- 1 tsp. of smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. of Mexican oregano, you can use regular as well
- 1 tbsp. of cornmeal, finely ground not coarse
- Kosher Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- In a large frying pan over medium high heat, add solid shortening
- Begin to saute onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about three to four minutes, then add ground beef to pan. Let ground beef sit and brown in a single layer over the onions, do not touch for about three minutes, then begin to mash with potato masher, then mix to brown evenly.
- When ground beef is browned through, drain most of fat, leaving some for flavor. Return pan to heat with beef and onion well incorporated, add spices, salt and pepper, mix well, add about 1/4 cup of water to make a sauce. Let simmer about 5 minutes, then add in cornmeal. If it is to thick add a bit more water, but do not thin out too much. You want it thick for your tacos.
- Simmer with the cornmeal until thickened another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill tacos or make your taco salad at this point. Devour!
An authentic Mexican recipe, that's quick, easy, and much better than store-bought!
- This is a must for authentic tasting street tacos, you can cut these into triangles and fry in oil for homemade tortilla chips, I even sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar while still warm and serve with vanilla ice cream for a mexican churro hack!
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp. of baking powder
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1 tsp. of Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 tbsp. of lard or vegetable shortening
- In a large bowl combine all flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in lard or shortening, using your fingers to incorporate into flour until small pebbles form in dough.
- Form into 12 balls.
- On floured cutting board begin to roll out round pie like discs to the desired size of your tortilla.
- Typically in Mexico tortillas are made on a Comal, I use my round cast iron grill pan which works fine. You can use a cast iron skillet with a bit of vegetable shortening. Heat pan over medium heat.
- Place one tortilla at a time in pan, just lightly crisping to get char marks in about two minutes per side, checking to ensure they don’t burn.
- Place on plate, immediately fill with taco meat, or let cool and place in plastic bag for later use. Warm before serving by either placing in warm skillet for a minute or two, or microwave between moist paper towels on microwave safe plate, for 30 seconds.