Mexican Fried Tacos filled with a savory ground beef and spiced tomato filling.
In the beginning there was a taco, and it was good. Actually so good that the first taco recipe appeared in an American cookbook a century ago and that first Taco Bell rang over sixty years ago. A typical Mexican dish of a maize tortilla simply folded around food and eaten with your hands, tacos provide us with so much culinary inspiration that the variations seem endless.
Last year during a foodie field trip to Brighton and our Colorado vegetable farms, Heather and I stopped at Santiago’s a very popular Mexican Restaurant chain here in Denver. I ordered an Indian Taco, a deep fried puffy tortilla featuring my favorite Mexican flavors. I believe it was a flour tortilla rather than fry bread and it was topped with beef, lettuce, tomato and plenty of their green chili.
It was goooo-od. I’ve been wanting to try some version of fried tacos ever since. With lots of research, here’s my final product.
Keep in mind, to make homemade fried tacos that resemble the normal shell to fill after they are fried and shaped follow this method. In small frying pan, heat oil until a drop of water sizzles immediately when added to it. Fry tortilla lightly on one side. Turn and fry lightly on the other side. Before tortilla becomes crisp, bend it in half, using tongs and a fork to hold it steady and crisp the folded end. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Repeat remaining tortillas. Place one to two tablespoons of cooked meat filling mixture into each taco shell. Add shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes and top with cheese.
Wanting to creating something more authentic, for fried rolled tacos fried with the meat filling inside: I don’t own a deep fryer, so I needed to come up with a taco that was pan fried. After browsing different ideas I decided on a mixture of ground beef and a combination of flour and corn tortillas.
For the corn tortillas, I spooned a small amount of the seasoned ground beef into the center of corn tortilla and wrapped them, securing the tacos with a toothpick. Heating a small amount of canola oil in my pre-heated cast iron skillet, I fried them two at a time, turning each as soon as they were browned on one side.
For the flour tortillas, I used smaller eight-inch tortillas and spooned the beef mixture over one half the tortilla. Then I folded the tortilla in half and added a small amount of oil to my already hot cast iron skillet, frying each until browned on both sides. I cut them in half before serving.
These are great served with sour cream and your favorite homemade salsa recipe.
And speaking of Brighton, our blogging friends Larry and Bev were here last week and we drug the whole crew out to Brighton for a farm fresh experience at LuLu’s Market.
Located northeast of Denver on Highway 85, and with the vegetables fields right next to the market, this is a true Farmer’s Market. Fresh vegetables don’t get any fresher for purchase.
Besides fresh vegetables, LuLu’s offers a variety of canned products, a huge assortment of Mexican spices, farm fresh eggs, and on Saturday and Sunday some of the best bean and beef burritos around. I buy about two dozen of them to bring home and freeze.
And when we’re in Brighton always stop at Tortilleria Chihuahua and stock up on the freshest and the best flour and corn tortillas available in the extended Metro Area. Thanks to Larry for letting me swipe this photos from his blog.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup red or yellow bell peppers chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano preferably Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons water
- 12 tortillas for frying
- canola oil for frying
- Sour cream and salsa for serving
Cook the ground beef in a skillet until brown and crumbly, stirring occasionally and breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Stir in the herbs and spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Stir in the water as needed for consistency. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes.
Place a little of the beef mixture on each corn tortilla and roll up. Secure with a wooden toothpick and fry quickly in a little oil until golden. For the flour tortillas, place beef mixture on half of the tortilla and fold over. Fry on each side until browned.
Serve with sour cream and salsa.
Got a hankering for tacos? Take a look at these:
Fried Tacos … They’re what’s for Dinner.