I think it might be because of my tacos that Rich is no longer a vegetarian. ;-) Few meals rival tacos for ease of preparation combined with variety of ingredients and yumminess. So, Rich, here’s how I make mine!
First, the list of ingredients for the meat:
- 3 pounds of lean ground beef – less than 15% fat, not because I don’t like fat [you know about me and bacon], but because I just don’t like terribly greasy taco meat.
- 1 large onion, diced – ends up being about 1.25 – 1.5 cups in volume, I have used dried minced onion a few times that you have eaten tacos here, too.
- 2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped; wish you could have been here last time when I used some fresh from my garden! Maybe you will come again soon. Granulated garlic works well, about 1.5 tsp.
- olive oil – just about 2 tablespoons for the pan before putting in the onion
- cumin – about 1 teaspoon
- oregano – dried leaves, about 1.5 teaspoons
- sea salt – a generous 2 teaspoons
- black pepper, fine ground – ⅓ to ½ teaspoon
- tomato paste – 6 ounce can
The rest of the filler ingredients are the basics:
- diced tomatoes
- black olives
- Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- sometimes our black beans
- avocado mash, which is easier to make a reality if I keep some halved and peeled avocados in the freezer
- yogurt (plain) usually, but sometimes sour cream
- corn tortillas, just barely browned on a lightly greased griddle
- of course, Dad adds his own things, like garden grown habeneros and hot salsa
The first step is to heat my wok on medium heat, then put in the oil. Next, the onions go in to be sauteed until almost tender and translucent. Just before I think they are done, I add the fresh garlic. If I’m using dried onion and garlic, I brown the meat first (without extra oil) and add those 2 items with the rest of the seasonings.
One of the things I appreciate about making tacos is that it is still possible to cook them if I have forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer on time. A little lower heat and a lid (it doesn’t even have to completely sit around the edges) for a few minutes usually defrosts it enough for me to break it apart with forks. Then, I can proceed to cook it the same as I would otherwise.
Just before I add the meat (if it is already sufficiently thawed) I turn the heat up higher. Once the meat is broken up some in the wok, I add the seasonings, except for the tomato paste. That waits until the meat is all the way cooked.
There is usually time to prepare all the other fillings while the meat is cooking, as long as I take time to stir it periodically. Then, adding the tomato paste is sort of like a final exciting ritual, marking the nearness of taco immersion.
It would be easy to freeze some of the left-over meat for future meals. Consider doing it in thin portions, to make reheating less troublesome. But, of course, you will also want to eat some of the tacos the next day. And the next day. Because that’s just how tacos are.