Some days all I know is that I need bacon. It does seem to be related to the extra miles I’ve been running to train for my first half marathon. But when I get a pound of it out of the freezer, I am often lacking a specific plan. Fortunately, I discovered on a cooking show last week that bacon can go in tacos! Why had I never thought of that??
The cooking diva had made her tacos with top sirloin, but I was in the mood for a burrito style black bean taco. I’ve never been completely clear on where the line is between tacos and burritos… Regardless, it was going to be an impromptu recipe.
I began with joyfully slicing the bacon into 1.5 inch pieces, all the rows of stacks of slices in the pound of it at once. I put them in a preheated 8.5 quart pot, then stirred them rather continuously while I contemplated what else to put in my beans. I should have thought of onions and garlic at this point, but I didn’t remember them until later. When I make the recipe again, I will have some diced onion ready to toss in when the bacon is about 2/3 done cooking. Some minced garlic can be added just as the bacon is finishing up.
Leaving all the bacon and it’s drippings in the pot, I dumped in the black beans and their liquid. There was some sputtering as the oil met the water in the bean liquid, but is settled down quickly. I wanted the bacon fat for flavor. I bemoaned out loud that I didn’t have any fresh tomato, so one of my girls suggested a jar of home canned, pureed tomatoes. Then, she ran downstairs to get it.
While that was heating up, I stirred it once in a while while adding the brown sugar through the cooked whole corn (see ingredient list). I finally remembered the onions and garlic, so added minced dried onion and minced garlic from a jar in the fridge. The concoction was still more liquidy than I wanted. I supposed I could “cook it down,” but I recalled how much I liked the flavor of my dehydrated tomatoes in my spaghetti sauce. I skipped downstairs for a pint jar of them. I added a few, ate a couple of them, added a few more, ate another, then emptied the whole jar into the beans. These particular dried tomatoes had been prepared as snack chips, so had a little kosher salt sprinkled on them.
When the husband came home from work, he found me smiling and talking to myself in the kitchen, letting the pot simmer (in real world time this was possibly 10-15 minutes). I told him to feel free to taste my experiment. He was hesitant, since he is usually the one to fix the beans and has his particular “ways.” He did and raised his eyebrows in surprise. “That’s pretty good!” he said with enthusiasm.
Corn tortillas were what I wanted that night. My husband helped brown them slightly on the griddle with a touch of olive oil. Flour tortillas might have made eating the taco-burritos easier, but it was not much different than eating regular meat tacos. My husband did add some diced habanero to his own taco from his home grown stash in the freezer. We all filled the corn tortillas with the black bean mix, then topped it with grated sharp Tillamook cheddar, lettuce picked fresh from the garden while the tortillas were being heated, and some sour cream.
The next day, the dried tomatoes had absorbed some more of the liquid, but they were still pleasantly chewy. I added a little water to heat a lunch portion in the microwave. It was definitely one of those meals where every bite is savored and it is sad when it is gone and I am full. But, now I know it is possible to make bacon black bean burrito tacos, and I fully expect to do it again soon!
1 pound Falls Brand hardwood smoked, thick sliced bacon
5-6 cups pre-cooked black beans (canned beans would probably work fine)
3 cups home canned pureed tomatoes
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
1.5 cups cooked whole kernel corn
1 Tablespoon minced dried onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pint dried tomatoes