Ditch the packaged spice mix and make the best Tex-Mex Beef Tacos ever!
Classic American-style ground beef tacos harken me back to childhood. Oh, the simplicity and satisfaction of a crunchy taco shell filled spiced ground beef, grated cheese, salsa, a little chopped onion, and a pile of shredded lettuce! Growing up it was all the rage to use a packet of "taco seasoning." Toss some beef in a skillet, sprinkle in the spice packet, add some water, and you're done. We can do better today and with the same ease: make your own taco seasoning and it will be just as easy twice as "delicious!"
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; measuring spoons; small mixing bowl; nonstick sauté pan; wooden spoon
Taco Seasoning Ingredients: 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1 pound ground beef (85% lean)
3-4 tablespoons tomato puree/sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
hard taco shells or soft tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
finely diced white onion
shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
ILOC tip: If you use 90% lean beef you'll need to add oil to the pan to sauté the meat, and you might need to drain the excess fat, which will drain some of the seasoning flavor. Better to use 80-85% lean beef and skip that cumbersome step. It's all about technique, not torture!
1. Combine all of the taco seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat a nonstick sauté pan over moderate heat. Once hot, add the beef and spread evenly on the pan using a wooden spoon or your fingers. Allow it to cook for 2 minutes without stirring. After two minutes, sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly over the meat and then begin to stir the meat, scraping the bits on the bottom of the pan.
3. Continue to cook for 3-4 more minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink. Then add 3-4 tablespoons of tomato puree and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper accordingly.
Makes 4 servings, or 12 tacos.