Homemade Taco Filling

tacoseasoningI grew up loving “taco night”. It was one my favorite nights of the week. I love a crispy shell (a tortilla, lightly fried in oil), filled with seasoned meat, homemade salsa, good-organic cheese, and fresh lettuce. Yum!!

I wanted to make a childhood favorite for my kids. The seasoning that I grew up on, sadly, was not something I was going to feed to my kids. Instead, for years, I made soft, chicken tacos. The chicken, slightly sauteed in a combo of onions, tomatoes, a small teaspoon of chopped jalapenos, chicken stock, and some seasonings. They are super tasty, but nothing can beat a crispy taco.

I read Cook’s Illustrated religiously and own every issue since 1993 (and a selection from 1981-1992). They are my “go-to” and a place that I find lots of inspiration. Many of our favorite dishes are adapted from CI so when I found a recipe for homemade taco seasoning, I earmarked the page and headed to the kitchen.

Using the original recipe as a jumping off point, I changed it up a bit to make it my own. Keeping a mix of the dry ingredients, stored in a glass jar, helps make taco (or tostada) night, any night of the week.

Homemade Taco Filling
This recipe makes a big batch. My boys like it in their lunch box the next day. Kept warm in a thermos with a side of corn chips and simple salad, sending them with a perfect whole meal is the best way to get them through their day.

tacoseasoning tostadaIngredients:
3 teaspoon coconut oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 lbs. grass fed, organic ground beef
3/4 cups homemade chicken stock
3/4 cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons sucanat
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
12 corn tortillas

black beans
shredded, organic lettuce
grated cheese
homemade salsa

Preheat oven to 250°F. Set a wire rack inside a jelly roll and set aside.

Heat a heavy duty fry pan over medium heat. Heat the coconut oil. Add the onions and saute until they become translucent.

Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, Celtic sea salt, and white pepper. Mix and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef and saute until the meat is no longer pink. Pour in the chicken stock and tomato sauce. bring to a boil. Once boiled, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked off.

While the beef is cooking, heat some peanut oil in a fry pan. Add one tortilla, cook for 1 minute. Flip the tortilla, using a pair of tongs, slightly fold over the tortilla. Don’t let the tortilla close, keep it open with the tongs. When golden brown and crispy, remove from the oil and place on wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Place in the oven until ready to fill.

When the liquid has almost evaporated, add the sucanat and cider vinegar. Cook for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings. Fill taco shells and eat! Enjoy!


Susan Salzman writes The Urban Baker blog to explore her dedication to good food in the hope of adding beauty to the lives of her family and friends.