We do have Taco Tuesdays at my house but may also have Taco Thursday or Friday or Monday for that matter. Basically as far as our household is concerned, tacos are acceptable any day that ends in “y”. Most soft tacos are served authentic street taco style nowadays with small double corn tortillas grilled then topped with carnitas, lenguas or fried fish and finished with fresh cilantro and pico de gallo. Staying true to my roots however I gotta put a TexMex twist on mine. The TexMex taco started out as a puffy taco made with fresh masa, which was stuffed and deep fried. Over the years it slowly morphed into the more recognizable crunchy tacos of today, which are stuffed with spiced hamburg and topped with shredded iceberg, cheddar, and sometimes sour cream. If you’re interested in a bit of TexMex history, The Tex-Mex Cook Book by Rob Walsh is a very interesting read. I actually never ate soft tacos before I started cooking for the wifey. I was a crunchy taco purist and if it wasn’t a crisp, fried shell with chili and cumin packed taco grease oozing down to my elbow with every bite, then I wasn’t interested. So although I have a special fondness for crunchy TexMex tacos, many requested soft taco nights warmed me up to the unfried, softer version of one of my favorite foods. This recipe is super easy to put together and a nice mash up of two very different taco worlds. If you throw on a few sprouts, it’s super healthy too.
TexMex Soft Tacos
16 oz ground hamburger, preferably local, grass fed beef
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic, skin removed and chopped
2 teaspoons TexJoy chili powder
2 teaspoons dark chili powder
2 teaspoons Cumin powder
2 teaspoons Garlic powder
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
2 teaspoons Onion powder
1 cup of water
salt and pepper to taste
4 good quality corn tortillas, such as La Tortilla Factory
Garnish: shredded Iceberg lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sunflower sprouts
Over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet, saute the onion a few minutes until translucent. Salt and pepper the onions and once translucent add the garlic and saute a couple minutes more. Next add in the hamburg and brown it. Once the hamburg has browned, add in the cup of water and all remaining seasonings. Stir well, bring to a simmer, and continue simmering on low heat until all the water is fully absorbed. There should be no water left in the skillet when the taco meat is done. Taste the taco meat and adjust the seasonings as needed. I like to finish mine with a hit of fresh squeezed lime juice and a pinch of chili powder to brighten it up at the end but this is totally optional. Heat a small cast iron skillet over high heat and toast the tortillas on each side until they are slightly chard and start to bubble up. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap in foil to keep them warm. Assemble the tacos and garnish with lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sprouts. Serve immediately.
Note: I like a big punch of chili and cumin in my taco meat so fill free to adjust the seasonings to fit your specific taste.