“California” Ground Beef Tacos

California Beef Tacos

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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California Ground Beef Tacos
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Growing up, taco night right up there with the rare mythical pizza night. Back then, it was the simple hard shell ground beef taco topped with cheddar cheese. Today my taco aperture is fully widened. To adapt a JBJ lyric … “I’ve seen a million tacos and I’ve rocked them all” or something close.

A few decades ago on a visit to the the mother in law, she made us some “California” tacos. At this stage in my game, I had soft and hard shells but not oiled ones. It’s the same basic taco set up but she would take the corn tortillas and softened them in a heated and oiled skillet. Kind of what you might do to an enchilada in sauce.

Between us, I am not sure that single act of hot oil made them “Californian.” My hunch is someone, not from California, made them for her whilst she was living out there in her post college days. To me the California taco is a proper fish taco or some street barbacoa or carne asada tacos. The only reason I point that out is out to calm down any Californian who might read this and feel the need to educate me. I get it. The name is more about my MIL vs the state.

For my beef filling I like to really concentrate and reduce the sauce to a deep, spicy, rich salty mixture. I also like a fine cut of my ground beef while adding beans too. For the flavor, I will play around with my mixture by adding, beer, tomato sauce, green sauce or salsa etc.. This batch I went heavier on the tomato sauce but will use the typical amount in my base recipe.

Ingredients:
1 lbs ground beef (chopped further before browning)
corn tortillas
1 onion
8 oz of tomato sauce
8 oz of beer
4 oz of beef stock
Shredded cheddar for topping
1 green pepper (seeded and spined)
1 jalapeno (seeded and spined)
1 can of jalapeno pinto beans (rinsed)

Spices
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ancho chili powder
2 tbs of Penzey’s taco seasoning
1 tbs of cumin
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of cayenne

Directions:
1. Take your ground beef and chop it on a cutting board. Add to a medium heated skillet to brown. Drain some of the fat.

2. Mince your onion, jalapeno, green pepper and add to the mixture and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Now add your spices and let them bloom for 5 minutes more.

3. Add the wet ingredients and simmer until it is really reduced and tight. You can cheat with cornstarch if you are in a hurry. Just put a 1tbs in a little water and then add and stir. IMG_9850IMG_9860

4. I add my beans towards the end and kind of mash it up a bit.

5. For the tortillas I take about a tablespoon of peanut or vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and heat it up. I use my hand so be careful of burning your self. Tongs tend to rip them. Since I cooked 4 tacos I put all 4 tortillas in the skillet. I flip all four and then take the top two, flip them and then flip all four. The point is each one needs to have contact with oil and heat. This is a one to two minute ordeal. Pull from heat and let them rest on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.

6. Fill the tortillas with beef, cheese and anything else you want. I also made a simple salad and used avocado, lime juice and oil and blended it until smooth. I smashed a few chips to top.
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