Tacos started as children's food in Old Mexico. Now they are one of the very most popular snacks or light meals. There are many, many variations. First, the history--decades ago, homemade corn tortillas were generally made before each meal in Mexico. And when the aroma of the corn tortillas baking started, a Mother's children would crowd around her to get a snack. The custom began that the Mother would look around her counter for any leftover meats or cheese and place them in the freshly baked tortilla and would say "Ta-go" which became taco later.
In Old Mexico, they always either take a freshly baked tortila off the comal (cast iron griddle) or crisp an already prepared one. Then they place layers inside the tortilla, usually starting with meat or a spicy vegetable or beans followed with shredded cabbage or cole slaw, then perhaps some crumbled or grated cheese and salsa.
I am not sure why or how in the US, the custom came about for crisp frying the tortilla before placing the filling ingredients inside. The first tacos to become popular in the US were the spicy beef filled ones with shredded iceberg lettuce topped with grated cheese, some chopped tomato and perhaps onion and then salsa.
We have a taco class this Thursday evening and still have a few openings. We will be making Perfect Guacamole, Roast Pork Taco Platter, Grilled Chicken Tacos with Red Bell Peppers and Fish Tacos with Nine Day Cole Slaw....Plus three salsas-- Mango and Grilled Corn , Salsa Rojo and Salsa Verde. Come join the fun! We do wear masks and I do take your temperature when you first come in.
I am extending the 20% off special on the March 15 - 19 week long class until Friday, March 5, 2021. This is the class that Bon Appetit magazine rated as the "Best in the US" for non-vocational cooking schools.
And--we are taking reservations for our June 15 - 19 Oaxaca tour and more Check out our weekends and other classes on our website www.janebutelcooming.com.
Here's the traditional spicy beef recipe I created for Del Taco and El Torrito, while consulting and reworking their menus and the traditional Salsa Fresca.
CHILE BEEF TACO FILLING
This is my favorite beef taco meat. If you like mild chile flavors, you may wish to add the mild chile first and determine the need for the hot. Layer them with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion, grated cheese and top with salsa.
Yield: enough for 8 tacos
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons ground mild chile
1 Tablespoon ground hot chile
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1. Cook ground beef in a large skillet, stirring to break up meat, until browned.
2. Drain off any fat, then add the seasonings.
3. Cook, stirring, to combine ingredients and blend the flavors. Serve hot in grilled or fried corn tortillas and toppings.
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.