“Trash” Tacos for a Crowd
One of the fun things about being with a new partner is learning about each other’s tastes in food. My sweetheart grew up in east LA, and this simple home-cooked crispy taco, what he referred to as a “trash” taco presumably for it’s less than glamorous look and perhaps questionable nutritional value, was a staple there. I, on the other hand, don’t think I had a taco until my adult years when I traveled to Dallas for IBM training, and had no experience making what seems like a fast food style fried taco.We decided to make up a huge batch of these – which is actually quite easy to do in an assembly line with a partner – to host his kids for a socially distanced happy hour and taco party. I made the meat filling the day before, then we fried them off early in the day of party. It only takes 10 minutes in a hot oven to reheat them and crisp them up.We made the tacos with cheese, but you can leave that out, and we served them with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. The kids took leftovers home and told us they heated up nice and crunchy the next day as well. Although I didn’t try it, I’m guessing you could freeze leftovers and re-crisp them in the oven too.
- Canola oil
- 1 large onion, finely minced (I did it in the food processor)
- 5 founds ground beef or bison (or chicken or turkey)
- 10-15 tablespoons taco seasoning (start with 10 and add more to taste)
- ½ cup chipotle hot sauce, optional
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 60 corn tortillas
- 1 pound shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- Seeded and diced tomatoes
- Hot sauce
- Heat ¼ cup oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and the beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add taco seasoning, adding more to adjust to your taste. If you want the meat mixture spicier, add the chipotle hot sauce or cayenne pepper, or both, according to your taste.
- Heat a thin layer of canola oil in two skillets set over medium heat so that you can work in batches. Lay a tortilla in the oil of the first skillet to soften it, then turn it over and add about ¼ cup of the meat mixture and a tablespoon or so of cheese in the middle of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and gently press it flat with a spatula. Be sure to work fairly quickly so the tortilla doesn't become crisp before you fold it in half.
- Transfer to the second pan and cook on both sides until lightly browned and crispy. If you work with a partner, one of you can assemble the tacos, and the other person can finish crisping them in the second pan.
- As you cook the tacos, transfer them to baking sheets lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. You can either serve right away or refrigerate until later. If refrigerating, reheat tacos by laying them in a single layer on baking sheets and cook for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
- Serve with lettuce and tomato and hot sauce. Three tacos per person is a serving, but some of the guys ate a lot more than that!