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3 PINES ULTIMATE BEEF TACOS
We have to have these at least once a week or else we feel neglected! This is one of our favorite comfort foods. Filling can also be used to fill Burritos, Enchiladas, Flautas, or Chimichangas. Feel free to adjust any ingredient you like to please your tastes.
Filling makes enough for 8-10 tacos. Updated August 2008

FILLING:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon chopped garlic -- or to taste
2 tablespoons chili powder blend - heaping
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano -- crushed
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon arrowroot or corn starch
3/4 cup chopped onions or 2 tablespoons dried
2 to 3 jalapeno and/or serrano chiles chopped -- with or without seed
1/2 cup water

In a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain off excess liquid and fat. Stir in seasonings and arrowroot or corn starch. Add water and mix well.

Add onions and chiles and bring mixture to a summer. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Mixture can be removed from the heat and covered about 30 minutes before using. Makes enough for 8-10 tacos.

TACO SHELLS (these can be done ahead of time):
Fresh corn tortillas - 6" (preferably homemade)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
You will need metal or other forms to hold hot cooked tortillas (mine is from Sur Le Table)

Bring refrigerated tortillas to room temperature, making sure they are sealed in plastic bags or covered with damp towels to keep them from drying out. In a medium skillet, heat oil until a sprinkle of water dances and sputters in the oil. Fry tortillas 10 seconds per side; use tongs to drain thoroughly on paper towels. Sprinkle with a little salt and place into taco forms while still warm and pliable. Allow shells to cool; reheat in a 350-degree F. oven about 5 minutes.

GARNISHES:
Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses combined
Chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Hot Salsa or picante sauce (we sometimes use Habanero Salsa)
Fill taco shells half full with hot meat filling; top with some shredded cheese, pressing down to help it melt. Add chopped tomatoes, top with lettuce, and spoon the salsa over all...and chow down!

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Copyright 2001 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved