Friday, November 12, 2010

Recipe Box: Real Tacos

Taco Bell came out with their Cantina Tacos, finally moving away from the Tex-Mex messes and into real central Mexico street food.   The problem is that the real corn flour tortillas go stale very quickly, so you actually get a crumbling mess full of cheap meat. When my parents lived in Ajijic, the emphasis was on really fresh veggies and homemade corn tortillas still warm from the little shop. 

For two people (6 small tacos) you'll need:

a package of at least 6 6-inch corn tortillas, usually found in the refrigerated section of the store. 
10-12 oz steak or chicken breast (one large or two small)
3 limes (one zested)
6 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/2 cup oil (garlic flavored, oilive, vegetable, etc.) + 2 Tablespoons oil (for cooking meat)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Do Ahead:

Marinate the Meat:

Combine the juice and zest of one lime, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup of the chopped red onion in a ziplock bag with the chicken or beef.  Shake well so that the meat is well coated.  Place in fridge for at least an hour.  You can certainly leave this overnight or throughout the day if you need to. 

Marinate the Onions:

Combine the remaining chopped onions, 1/4 cup cilantro and the juice of one lime in a bowl or ziplock bag, mixing well.  Let sit in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.


Put It Together:

Chop meat into 1/2" cubes.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium frying pan over medium-high heat.  Combine meat, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, and 3 cloves of garlic in pan and stir frequently until meat is cooked through. 

In the meantime, heat a small non-stick frying pan (omelette pan, etc.) on medium heat.  Place tortilla in pan for 15 seconds, then flip and heat for another 15 seconds.  Remove to a plate and cover to retain heat (clean sacking towel, paper towel, pan lid, another plate, etc.) Repeat for all six tortillas.

Remaining tortillas should be immediately sealed in a plastic bag, removing as much air as possible.  They're only good for a couple of days after they're opened (if that).  Good uses for leftover tortillas include Chilequiles, homemade corn chips fried and coated with either salt or sugar/cinamon, tortilla soup, etc.

Slice the remaining lime into at least six slices. 

Mix the remaining fresh cilantro into the onion mixture and serve in a bowl. 


Assemble a taco by taking a tortilla, adding a spoonful of meat, a spoonful of the cilantro/onion mix, then squeezing a slice of lime over the combination.  The taste is simple, fresh and crunchy with a nice bite from the cilantro.  Once the marinating is done this can be turned out as a meal in less than half an hour, even if you're making margaritas to go with it. 

Any leftover onion/cilantro mix can be stirred into salsa to freshen up the flavor. 

A vegan version could be made by substituting more veggies for the meat (i.e. tomatoes, peppers, etc.) or slices of fresh avacado.  Check the Corn Tortillas to make sure they weren't made with animal fat. 

2 comments:

crookedfinger said...

Oh man, this sounds so good right now...

Dinaya Rose said...

MMMM sounds good. Thanks for sharing it. And good to see you post to your blog again.