Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beef tacos, deconstructed

Beef Tacos
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2005

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a pound (90 percent lean) ground beef
½ cup smooth tomato sauce
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
8 taco shells

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar and sugar and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
3. Divide the filling evenly among the taco shells and serve, passing any desired accompaniments separately.

Serves 4.

I made tortilla triangles instead of using shells. I was going to try to fry up my own shells but quickly decided I wasn't going to stand over hot oil and maneuver each corn tortilla into a taco shell. Besides, we prefer nachos to tacos and hubby would probably have broken the shells up onto a plate anyway.

Here's the thing: I can't really enjoy anything fried at home. I should have just purchased chips or shells because I'm always turned off when I do my own frying. I just become overwhelmed with the desire to take a shower after working with hot oil.

These were pretty good but coriander just isn't one of my favorite spices. I don't hate it but it makes me think twice when I smell it. It didn't ruin these tacos and my husband and son certainly enjoyed them.

Oh, I did have one little problem - I started making the wrong recipe. There was a recipe for tamale pie on the same page with similar ingredients and I actually started making that. I caught myself in time, before any real damage was done, but I did end up adding a jalapeno pepper to the meat before I realized what I was doing. Luckily they were similar recipes or I may have ended up like Rachel on Friends, when she made a trifle with beef and peas after the pages of her cookbook got stuck together.

I love this cookbook. This is THE cookbook to give new cooks. Glorious pictures, spiral bound, lots of basic cooking information. I got it from the library but I'm going to be purchasing this one for my own collection.

Trouble today. A book sale in the lobby. Not the best prices but not awful enough to stop me in my tracks either. They have a lot of the Favorite Name Brand books which I love. I'll go back down at lunchtime and take another look.

Question of the Day: Do you prefer tacos or nachos?


MommyProf said...

Nachos or soft tacos. I made hard tacos the other day and was reminded of why I don't like them - all that shell gets in the way of the ingredients' taste.

DancesInGarden said...

Nachos, although I prefer "taco salad" style even better. Take your nachos, add way more veggies than you normally would, and stir it all together LOL. Those look great!

Annie said...

Great blog.
I love nachos, smothered with melted cheese and extra olives...I guess this is why I don't eat them that often.

Randi said...

This is the book that Robin gave me. There are some great recipes in it. Btw, have you ever ordered from ecookbooks.com? Aka jessica's biscuit? I was looking at the catalog, there are so many books that I want!!

Anonymous said...

Soft tacos.Like mommyprof says,the shells get in my way.