Do you have a favorite comfort food? Mine is tacos. All my family knows that when I start cooking tacos there's something going on inside me! Its never anything very big; today I needed tacos because this utterly miserable cold weather has me in a slump!
Here's a little back-story on why tacos are comfort food to me. I grew up in New Mexico; my parents are still there on the home place where I was raised. My mother cooked a huge pot of pinto beans at least once a week and we ate them with numerous meals. We had tacos frequently. We kids loved tacos. Mom had to cook several platters as we would actually compete on who could eat the most tacos - and there were four of us kids! My older brother always won, but I was usually a close second! So, to me tacos are home, my momma and daddy, my siblings - all the things that bring comfort when I think of them. (My Mom still cooks the very best tacos in the world and if she reads this blog post she's going to roll her eyes!)
So I decided today to share with you how we cook our tacos.
Start with a pound of really high quality ground beef. We are lucky to raise our own so mine is a grass fed, low fat ground. Throw it in a cast iron skillet and cook on medium heat.
Using a fork, break up the meat into very small clumps.
Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Sometimes I add a little minced garlic. We do not, ever, season with taco seasoning, chile powder, or anything remotely tasting like Taco Bell. EVER. That just isn't the read deal! (If you have ground beef with a lot of fat, strain that off now.)
Now for your corn tortillas. You do not use the pre-cooked crispy shells like Taco Bell. You buy the corn tortillas in the bag that you can find in Walmart with the flour tortillas. The brand that I like the best are the Mission.
(Side note: We live in Tennessee now and when we first moved here I almost had heart failure the first time I went to buy corn tortillas. There were none to be found in our little town. We weren't here long before I found a little Mexican store in a nearby town that makes fresh corn tortillas every Sunday. You can be sure that is a Sunday routine for me- stop and get my tortillas for the week! Our Walmart does carry them now and when I'm out - like today - I do buy the Mission tortillas.)
Put a little oil in another cast iron skillet. My mother always uses lard (that is a real staple for every true blue mexican food cook). But I have changed a lot in how we eat and I have found that grape seed oil is a great taco making oil. You don't need a lot - I just drizzle it in the skillet. Heat on medium til slightly sizzling.
Add your first tortilla and let it cook for a minute or so until is starts to bubble up like the picture above. No need to turn it over, as you won't need to cook what will become the inside of the taco.
Add a couple tablespoons of the cooked meat to one half of the tortilla.
Fold the tortilla over and cook a minute or so, then flip it and cook the other side. You just want it barely brown - more like a golden color than a brown.
You can have several stages of tacos cooking in the skillet at the same time. When one is done, remove it from the skillet and stack next to each other on a plate. Continue making tacos until all your meat is gone.
Thats about the golden color that you want them to be. Now, I will say that I have many many times cooked tacos without any oil - basically just grilled them in the skillet. They are very good and taste wonderful. They don't; however, have the crunchy comfort feel that I love so much! And today these tacos were all about comfort!!
While I'm cooking the tacos I'm dicing onions, chopping tomatoes, thinly shredding lettuce, grating cheese (yes, you want fresh grated cheese and not that horrible bagged stuff!), and taco sauce. Some people like olives, avocados, sour cream but we never did so I never find myself really wanting any of that on my taco.
Fill your tacos up and sit down and eat!
I am so weird that I even love cold tacos. So when we've eaten out fill, if there are any tacos left over I go ahead and stuff them with the fixin's, wrap in foil and have them the next day for breakfast. Some people like cold pizza. I like cold tacos!
I'm all better now. Had my comfort food fix (four of them!) and I'm headed down to see my precious grand girls and get my other comfort fix. The weather is supposed to begin warming up tomorrow so things are really looking up!
Hope you are surviving this cold snap and keeping your spirits up. I've love to hear what your favorite comfort food is and why!
P.S. Come back in a few days for the tutorial on my wall word art that I promised you.