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July 1998 Issue
Mexican Medley
by Philip R. Gantt
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Tacos Tacos are probably the most popular and commonly known Mexican food that exists. For those who don't know what a taco is, it is fundamentally a corn tortilla with meat, onions, lettuce, tomato and cheese inside. Most familiar tacos will use ground beef as the base meat, but the most authentic tacos are made from shredded beef or pork which has been either roasted or barbecued.

There are many variations to the basic taco. The two basic types are the hard shell taco and the soft taco. Tacos can be made from chicken instead of beef or pork. The variations are endless and are limited only by one's imagination. A few of the variations are listed below and can be expanded upon as experience is gained in the Mexican way of cooking.

Tacos are best served with refried beans, Spanish rice, and guacamole with chips.

  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. ground beef or pork, or cooked and shredded beef or pork
  • 8 oz. grated cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 slice of an onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Diced tomato
  • Chopped green onion
  • Chopped black olives
  • Oil for frying
Sauté the meat in a pan with the onion and garlic until browned, and set aside to cool. While the meat is cooking, shred the lettuce and grate the cheese and arrange on a serving platter with chopped tomatoes, olives and green onions. Salsa is also a good accompaniment.

After the meat has cooled enough to handle, place an amount of the meat onto the center of a tortilla, fold it over in half, and carefully place the taco into the hot oil to fry. Kitchen tongs are useful for this task. Fry the taco one side at a time until the tortilla is somewhat crisp. It is better that the tortilla remain less crisp rather than too crisp to avoid cracking after they are served. As each taco is cooked, place on a paper towel to drain. After all of your tacos are cooked, serve them with the vegetables for your guests or family to stuff with the ingredients of their choosing.

Variations: Some people prefer a bit of spice to the meat. If this is your case, simply sprinkle a bit of chili powder or sauce into the meat while it is cooking. If economy is a motivating factor, use less ground beef or pork and add frozen corn kernels to the meat while it is cooking. This will expand the amount of the taco stuffing and add a different and very nice flavor to the meat.

Another way of making a flavorful taco is to serve guacamole or sliced avocado for an additional stuffing. A spicier treat is to sprinkle a red chili sauce (like Tabasco), or use a bit of salsa with the toppings.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

 
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