Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crispy Beef Tacos

Robert and I are now home from our trip to New Mexico, but I still have one last recipe of my grandmother's left to share, her crispy beef tacos. No doubt by now you have figured out that I love Mexican food and tacos in particular. Maybe it was the multiple recipes for tacos that gave me away. My grandmother, Mimi, is a big reason for that, I think.

Her grandmother was Spanish and spent much of her early life in Mexico before she met my great-great-grandfather, married and moved to Texas. To celebrate this family heritage, the Thrashers have these tacos for dinner every Christmas Eve. Not that we don't have them other times of the year, it's just that at Christmas that one meal is a given.

Robert put in a special request for Mimi to make her tacos on our last night in Ruidoso and she, having a soft spot for Robert, was happy to oblige. To me this was the perfect solution. Not only did I get to enjoy Mimi's tacos made by her hands, something that now happens only every other year now that I'm married, but I got to document it to share with all of you. Win, win. I hope you will enjoy this family favorite as much as we do.

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Crispy Beef Tacos

2 pounds ground sirloin
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salsa (Mimi uses Pace)
1/4-1/2 cup canola oil
12 small corn tortillas

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook until mostly browned.

Add the onions and cook for an additional 3 minutes or so until the meat is fully cooked and the onions have softened.
Add the ground oregano
and salsa. You can use your favorite brand, although my family has always used Pace Picante.
 Stir to combine and set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in an a large skillet over medium heat. We used an electric skillet, but if one isn't available a large skillet on the stove top will work. Once the oil is heated, place one corn tortilla in the oil.
 Place a spoonful of taco meat in the center of the tortilla.
After a minute, fold the tortilla over and press down with a spatula for at least 30 seconds until the taco will remain folded once removed.
Push to the far side of the skillet and add a new tortilla and repeat the process above.
After 2-3 minutes, when the bottom of the tortilla is browned and crisp, flip the taco over to cook the other side being careful not to lose the filling.
Cook the tortillas for 2-3 minutes more until that side is also crisp and remove to a paper towel lined oven-safe plate.
While you continue cooking the remainder of the tacos, place the finished tacos in the oven at 250 degrees to keep warm. This will also continue the crisping process and dry out the excess oil remaining on the tortillas.
When ready, serve with shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa and guacamole and enjoy.
One last picture from our vacation, taken while we took my grandparents dog Shelby for a walk. I don't know who Robert is more annoyed with, me or the dog!

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