Archive, Recipes

Bringing the Taco Truck to You

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As promised, I am back with a recipe for something that you can use my hot sauce/salsa recipe on.

In the last few years street tacos have become more and more popular around the country and there is a really good reason for this. They just happen to taste pretty darned good. If you aren’t familiar with street tacos then here is a quick breakdown. They are made with tender marinated beef, quickly cooked up with slightly crisp edges, then assembled in double layered, fresh corn tortillas. Then topped with fresh chopped cilantro, chopped onion and a couple of lime wedges on the side to squeeze on top. When you bite into them you are pretty much experiencing heaven. This type of taco is very popular in south Texas and can be found by vendors with little carts on the side of the road at many different festivals and fairs throughout the south west. Over the last few years they have gained popularity and can now be found in fancy restaurants, fast food chains and taco trucks across America. Along with street tacos taking over it seems more and more taco trucks are starting to show up at local food truck events. Each one has a different spin on the classic taco and tries to come up with ways to put together something just a little different than the competition. I have tried quite a few and can tell you that there are just as many flavors out there that don’t work as there are that do. Luckily for you, I am not worried about competition and trying to reinvent the wheel (taco). I just wanted to come up with something that is easy for you to make and still tastes great. I think I have managed to capture that unique flavor of street tacos but also add another level that sets them apart from your average taco. I am hoping that after you try this you will be adding these tacos to your “Taco Tuesday” dinner plans.

Here is what you need to get started. A non stick skillet, non stick cooking spray, wooden spoon or something to stir with, spatula, 1/4 cup measuring cup, sharp knife and cutting board.

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Grocery list:

1 lb lean ground beef (at least 90% lean)

1 medium white onion  (small diced and split into two piles)

1 jalapeno (seeded and small diced)

1 red chili pepper (optional) (Seeded and small diced)

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 pack of corn tortillas

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1 lime (cut into 8 wedges)

Shredded cheddar (optional)

You will want to prep all of the ingredients before getting started. This doesn’t take long to cook and you don’t really have much time to prep while you go. Wash and pat dry all of your veggies. Now small dice the onion and split into two even piles. Slice the jalapeno and chili pepper long ways down the middle and remove the seeds and white membrane from inside and discard. Finely chop the peppers up. Mince the garlic clove. Cut the lime into eight wedges and set to the side.

Let’s get cooking.

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First: Heat the non stick pan on medium high heat and coat the bottom with non stick spray. Place as many corn tortillas in the pan as it will hold in a single layer (usually about three). You will hear a sizzle  (that’s is a good thing). Spray the tops with the cooking spray and sprinkle on a little salt. You want to cook them like that for about 30 seconds. Now turn them over and do the other side. You want the tortillas to start to get slightly crispy with some light brown edges but still be soft enough to fold. Do this for however many tacos you are planning to make and set them aside on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Second: Now for the taco beef. Coat the bottom of the same non stick pan with more cooking spray and add the onion and peppers. Cook them stirring occasionally for a a couple of minutes until they start to get fragrant and the onions just start to turn translucent. Now add the garlic and stir it all together. Using your spoon or spatula push the onions and peppers to the outer edges of the pan and add the ground beef (be sure to wash your hands after handling raw meat). Let the bottom brown for a minute and then stir it up with the onions and peppers. Continue to cook until all of the meat has been browned.

(Note: Now when I say “brown” the beef I mean really brown it. Don’t just get it slightly grayish brown like a lot of recipes call for. Get in there and let it get some dark brown crispy edges. You don’t need to do that to the whole pan but get at least a third of it really brown. This actually unlocks the flavor that you are looking for in a great taco).

Third: Go ahead and stir in all of the spices and add a 1/4 cup of water and stir it around to get it good and mixed in. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for two to three minutes.

Fourth: Now you are ready to assemble the tacos. Take one of the corn tortillas and cup it in your hand and spoon in a nice helping of the meat. You want to fill it about half of the way up. Take a good pinch of the the diced onion that you set aside and spread on top of the meat and then another pinch of the cilantro and put that on top of the onion.

Last: Now to top it off. If you happened to make any of my south Texas hot sauce from my previous recipe put a nice big spoonful of that on top  then set it on the plate. Add a lime wedge or two not only to garnish but to squeeze a bit on each taco. It really gives it a nice flavor. Take a second to marvel at the masterpiece that you just created… Okay, that’s long enough. You need to do that for the rest of your dinner guests now. You can also add a little shredded cheese to top it off if you like, but it is not necessary.

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That’s it! You did it! I really hope that you enjoy these. Don’t forget to check back next time as we change things up a bit and I show you how to make my spin on the Philly cheese steak sandwich.

Thanks for stopping by,

James

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