Yesterday was Taco Tuesday! I wanted to cook something that would be easy, and not make the house into a huge sauna. Summer time in Alaska is no joke. Especially this year. This year we have been breaking records left and right. We literally had a full week of ninety degree weather. That is unheard of here in the 49th state. We made do with box fans, and little clothing. Haha! Back to Tacos!
My mom used to live in Del Rio, Texas. The land of dive bars, cactus, and lots of cheap beer. They are also known for their stellar Mexican food because the city is just a mile from the border. I loved visiting there because the Mexican culture was strong, and I love everything that is associated with Mexico. Like tequila, tacos, chips, salsa, and products that you can only get from a place so close to the border. My heart was always full knowing delicious food was going to be waiting for me in a town rich in culture and traditions.
One evening my mom and I decided we were hungry, and we were deciding what we wanted to eat. We were brainstorming ideas, and her light bulb went off super bright! She remembered hearing about this food truck that served authentic street tacos, and customers had to call ahead just to eat their amazing tacos. We decided to call, and make our order. You know they are going to be fabulous when the servers know little English. After we made our order, we hopped into the car, and rushed to get our food. Our stomachs were screaming for food, and we didn’t want to wait any longer. When we pulled up to the small rusty food truck, we couldn’t believe what we saw. The line for the tacos was so long, and it was then we understood why people had to order ahead. After waiting for a while, we grabbed our bags, and hurried home to eat our authentic tacos.
When I started to assemble the taco, I noticed they were different than your usual hard shell taco. These had soft shells, and there weren’t any tomatoes to add to the top. What they did provide was pickled cucumbers and red onions. I thought it was strange to put a pickled cucumber on a taco, but the taste was amazing. That instantly became my favorite part of the dish. Lime and cilantro was also must-have condiment.
These tacos are going to be a bit different. I’m going to add avocados, and tomatoes to the mix. I know, please don’t sue me. I’m still going to add the pickled cucumbers and onions, and I’m going to add crumbled Queso Fresco.
Ok, let’s get started!
The first thing you want to do is prepare all the toppings, so you won’t have to worry about cutting and cleaning while the meat is cooking, and any other sides you are planning to make.
Cucumber and Red Onion Pickling Process: Grab the cucumber and a red onion to slice, and place them in a small bowl. Then I drizzle red wine vinegar to start the pickling process. Now put the bowl in the refrigerator. You don’t want to miss this gem! They are amazing on the tacos.
After preparing the cucumber and red onion, I grabbed all the toppings I’d prefer on my taco. My favorite toppings are jalapeños, cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, and fresh lime juice. Cilantro makes my taste buds sing. I freakin’ love that stuff.
Now it’s time to cook the meat. For this recipe I used a pound and a half of ground beef, and a half pound of ground pork. Surprisingly, the pork brightened up the dish in a way that was beautiful. After preparing the beef and pork for the cooking process, I grabbed a small yellow onion and finely chopped it. I then got two garlic cloves and peeled the outer layer off the clove, which would make it easier to grate the garlic with a small hand-held grater.
Ready for the magic? I placed a large skillet on high heat, and waited till the pan was slightly smoking. You want the meat to get a good sear because the little caramelized brown bits are delicious. Now, place the beef and pork in the pan. You need to season with salt and pepper to your own preferable taste. When the meat is halfway brown, you add the small onion, and grate the garlic into the meat mixture. Then you wait till the meat is brown and have tasty bits. Now I’m going to make you get something super crazy! A pre-made taco seasoning package. What?! I know! While the heat is still on, add the seasoning pack to the pan with the meat mixture. The heat will brighten the flavors of the seasonings in the package. After about a minute, add a splash of water like the package says. I usually add a little less because you want the seasoning to coat the meat. Adding excess water will dilute the flavor. Nobody has time for that. Now you let the everything marry together for about two minutes. Turn off the heat.
Let’s grab those tortillas! Quick tip: Get a kitchen towel, and dampen it with hot water. Lay the towel flat on the counter, and take the tortillas out of their packaging. Now place the stack of tortillas in the middle of the damp towel. Now fold each end over the tortillas. Place them in the microwave for about one minute. This will help the tortillas not to dry out, and will make them taste authentic.
1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef
1/2 lb. Ground Pork
1 Yellow Onion (Chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (Grated)
1 Package of Taco Seasoning
1 Package of Flour Tortillas (10 ct.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pickled Cucumber and Red onion (See above on how to do this process.)
Chopped Fresh Red Onions
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Sour Cream (Optional)
Frank’s Hot Sauce (Optional)
Sliced Jalapeños (Optional)
Now you are ready to make your taco! Every body has their preferred choice of toppings. One of my favorite things to add to my tacos is Frank’s hot sauce. This stuff makes my taste buds sing. I found out street tacos are super easy to recreate.
Since this recipe has beef and pork, you will want to grab a nice Pinot Noir. The complexity of flavors in the tacos will pair well with the smooth, slight oaky fruit flavor of the Pinot Noir. You will be surprised how well the flavors will accompany each other. It’s actually mind-blowing. Now get that taco, and pour yourself a well-deserved glass of wine.
Like, share, comment and tell me what you think! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress. And use #WineyChef. I would love to see your own versions of this recipe.
If you guys have any questions about cooking or wine pairings, just give me a shout out! I’m always here to help, and want to make y’all super comfortable in the kitchen.
Now grab your apron, and cook with me.
Your Winey Chef,