Well hello! So happy you’re here! But I should warn you: this recipe is not for the Tex-Mex tacos you might be thinking of (the ones with a greasy yellow shell and heavily cumin-and-chili-powder seasoned ground beef). While those tacos are delicious, these are not those.
Although I hesitate to generalize, you could say these have more of an interior Mexican flavor. The beef is lightly seasoned with onion, garlic and smoked paprika, and then wrapped in a warm, lightly-oiled soft corn tortilla. I serve three of ’em rolled up side by side, with crunchy slaw or shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and a scoop of guacamole on top, and creamy cilantro-lime sauce for dipping. All together, the combination of flavors and textures is intoxicating! (Or maybe it’s the gallon of margaritas we serve with the tacos. Probably not, but I like to keep an open mind.)
While you can certainly use fresh onion and garlic for seasoning, on busy weeknights I like to use onion and garlic powder, plus a bit of smoked paprika, sugar and salt. The seasoning is easy and quick and you could even make it up ahead of time if you’re a meal-planner. Then you just sprinkle the seasoning mixture on the ground beef as it cooks, while breaking up and tossing the beef to keep in small pieces.
When the beef is done, you can wrap it up in whatever you like (flour tortillas or big lettuce leaves) or toss it on a salad for a ground-beef taco salad. Or, if you want to try the rolled corn tortillas like I use, here’s what you do:
Heat a small pan about half-filled with oil (I use avocado oil or light olive oil) over medium heat. Then using tongs (or your fingers — but be careful, the hot oil can burn!) dip the tortilla into the warm oil for about 3 seconds (the oil should bubble a bit and make a frying sound), flip the tortilla so the other side sits in the oil for about 3 seconds, and then move the tortilla over to a paper-towel lined plate. The quick dip in the oil makes the corn tortilla both softer and stronger, so it holds up better when you roll it. After letting the tortilla cool for a few minutes, spoon about 2 tablespoons seasoned ground beef into the tortilla (add shredded cheese along with it, if you like), and then use your fingers to roll it up into a thin soft taco. Set the taco on a plate and then start all over :)
Seasoned Ground Beef for Tacos
Makes 1 lb. seasoned ground beef
1 lb. ground beef or bison
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (I’ve been using coconut sugar lately. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like coconut. Just a bit of sweetness with more nutrients than refined sugar.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sear, chopping with a spatula into small pieces. Sprinkle the seasoning over the beef. Continue to cook, tossing and chopping beef with a spatula, until it is cooked through and brown. Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Use in tacos or on salads or nachos, or however you wish!
Serving Ideas: However you serve it, the seasoned ground beef goes well with red or white rice, crock-pot pinto beans, cilantro-lime sauce, and salsa verde. Oh, and margaritas. Cannot forget the margaritas :)