Taco Night

September 21, 2011


It seems to be something many families across America do – taco night. A fairly simple meal, customizable for each person with toppings, that the whole family loves. While my family has never been one to have days of the week dedicated to a food, such as Taco Tuesday or Stir-Friday, homemade pizzas, tacos & enchiladas, and stir-fry have often made the dinner list.

These tacos in particular are inspired by tacos my grandfather’s wife makes. I remember the first time I had her tacos I was thrown by the addition of potatoes to the beef, but I quickly got on board with the addition because they were so yummy. Many years later I learned the secrets to making her tacos, but as I’m wont to do, I added a few spices to add a bit of complexity to the flavors.

Beef & Potato Tacos
1/2 onion (yellow or white), diced
1 russet potato, diced
1 pound beef
1 tablespoon cumin
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Salt, to taste
Dried chili pepper(s), to taste
Oil, for cooking

To serve:
Tortillas (corn or flour or flavored)
Garnishes: salsa, pico di gallo, sliced radishes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, cilantro, monterey jack or queso fresco, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, or anything else you wish

Saute the onions and potatoes in a bit of oil until soft. In the meantime, grind the cumin seed, garlic, salt, and chili peppers with a mortar and pestle. Add a bit of water, and continue to grind until the mixture forms a paste.

Add the beef to the onion and potato mixture, and brown. Add the spice mixture, and a bit more water or beef stock (or other stock) if your mixture is drying out. Cover, and cook until spices are cooked and distributed through the mixture and potatoes are soft.

Serve with garnishes and tortillas. My personal favorite mix of flavors is a regular tortilla topped with queso fresco, a bit of salsa, lettuce, sliced radishes, and cilantro. These are even good as I did above with just a bit of cheese and salsa, or even just with salsa. That’s the beauty of having a flavorful meat mixture!

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