NEW MEXICO STYLE BEEF TACOS

 

Yield: 4 servings or 12 tacos

12 corn tortillas

Cooking oil

1 pound very lean ground beef

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons ground mild red chile

1 Tablespoon ground hot red chile

1 Tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

½ teaspoon ground comino (cumin)

1 teaspoon salt

1 small onion, chopped

1 fresh tomato, coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup grated cheddar cheese or to taste

1. Fry tortillas on both sides in ½ inch or more of hot oil. Fry each tortilla on one side until slightly crisp, but still pliable, then turn and fold in half. Allow one side to become crisp, then turn and fry the last side. You may want to fry several taco shells at a time and freeze the extras. For soft tacos, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

2. Lightly sauté the ground beef in a large skillet, then add the seasonings and cook and stir until well blended and the ground beef has lost its pink color. Drain off excess fat.

3. Place meat in the taco shells. Add the chopped onion, tomato, lettuce and cheese in layers. Heat briefly in a 450 F oven to melt cheese. Serve nested with extra lettuce and a side dish of salsa.


SALSA FRESCA

This refreshing sauce can be as mild or as hot as you like, depending on the chiles used. Any leftovers of this sauce can be added to guacamole, made into salad dressing or chile con queso, and can be frozen for up to 4 months for later use in cooked dishes. This salsa is the original salsa developed in Mexico and reputed to “save lives” after one of the Revolutions. The salsa has equal parts of red, green and white—just as the Mexican flag does and is reputed that those who had it on their dinner tables at meal time were saved—when the Federales came around to check on their loyalty.

Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 cups

1 large fresh tomato, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped onion, or 2 scallions with tops included

4 green chiles, parched, peeled and chopped, or 4 ounces of canned chopped

green chiles (or 2 to 4 fresh jalapenos, finely minced)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

½ teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients; allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Sauce keeps for 1 week when refrigerated.

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