I should think of a better name for this recipe, but who knows how many taco recipes I’ll write up. The more descriptive the better, right?
Packaged taco seasoning can be a life saver for a weeknight meal, but also gets a bad wrap. In our kitchen, it’s not because of the crazy added salt but the heavy dose of cumin, which isn’t my husband’s favorite spice.
Since we started living together, I started mixing my own spice blend and had struggled to really get a combo that worked. A few taco nights ago, the dried spices really just weren’t working for me so in trying to save dinner, I dumped a can of fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies into it the skillet. That winter pantry staple (for chili obviously) not only saved dinner, but was apparently the missing link. It added some much needed flavorful liquid with a touch of additional heat. The tomatoes and chilies added another texture, while also melting into the mixture to create a thicker sauce.
Recently, we had a friend say was this is the best homemade taco meat he’s had so I’m done fidgeting. Choose your preferred ground meat, assemble a toppings bar featuring my guacamole and warm some tortillas for taco night.
Ground Meat Tacos
What you need:
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef, chicken or turkey
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon clove or allspice
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 12oz can of fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis
- Taco toppings bar: tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado or guacamole, pickled onions, salsa, etc.
- In a large nonstick or enameled cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cooking just until barely fragrant and beginning to soften.
- Add ground beef/chicken/turkey and cook until browned, stirring frequently to break up chunks. About 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the spices (chili powder through sugar).
- Once meat is just cooked through, at the spice mixture. Stir to coat and let bloom for 2 minutes.
- Add the can of tomatoes with green chilis and a half can of water. Stir, cover and let simmer for 8 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by half and tomatoes are cooked down.
- Taste for salt and pepper, and/or adjust seasoning to personal preferences. At this point, if it needs:
- More spice: add a pinch of red pepper flake and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder to gradually add punch.
- Less spice: add a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup water. Let simmer 3 minutes and taste again.
- Prep toppings bar. Enjoy!