Some say the word “taco” comes from tago, Mexican slang for “take it and go.” Tacos started as a children’s snack in Northern Mexico, a long time ago. In that desperately dry area, where food was always scarce, Mexican mothers began serving the first tortillas they made to their hungry children to keep the children’s hands full and leave the mothers free to get the rest of the meal prepared. You see corn tortillas were always the first item made to begin meal preparation, so the aromas would arouse their children. Then the mothers began to fill the fresh tortillas with any available leftovers, such as beans or cheese and the taco as we know it was born.
Yield: Serves 4
8 fresh corn tortillas (for soft tacos) or taco shells (for crispy tacos)
2 cups thick chili, such as Bowl o‘ Red, or Reno Red, reheated
1 cup thinly shredded cabbage
1/2 cup sour cream or grated cheese, such as sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack or Mexican Queso Blanco
2 fresh limes, halved
1/2 cup salsa, or more to taste, for serving
1.If using the fresh corn tortillas, place a griddle, comal, or skillet over medium-high heat and warm each tortilla briefly, flipping the tortillas as soon as they start to blister, about 3 seconds. Wrap the heated tortillas in a clean dishtowel to keep warm. If using crisp taco shells, place them in a 300 F oven until just warm, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Spoon 1/4 cup chili into each warmed tortilla or taco shell, and top each with 2 Tablespoons of the shredded cabbage and 1 Tablespoon each of the sour cream or cheese. Serve each taco with a lime half and pass the salsa at the table.
Reprinted with permission from Chili Madness, 2nd edition.