Friday, January 19, 2007

Tacos with Pan-Fried Corn Tortilla 'Shells'.

Friday night dinner has always been "Mexican Night" in our house. And these tacos are probably our all-time favorite. OK, so maybe they're not authentically "Mexican" and if the title is confusing, we don't actually make our corn tortillas from scratch, but we take the soft corn tortillas (sometimes called "raw" or "uncooked" soft corn tortillas - like you'd use for enchiladas) and we fry them briefly until they're lightly golden, tender and slightly crispy. They are insanely good!
None of those cold, hard, brittle, stale store-bought taco shells for us!

The Sprouts have me make these every time they have guests over, and no matter how many we make, they're always INHALED... I think they manage to fool most omnivore types pretty well, as I've never had one of their little non-vegetarian friends (or anyone!) turn their nose up at them or ask questions about the "weird vegetarian meat"...

Home-Made Tacos

-- 24 soft corn tortillas
(being that I'm rather partial to all things New Mexican, I happen to like the ones from Mi Ranchito Foods in Silver City, NM, but obviously any soft corn tortilla will work)
-- Oil for frying.
(I like refined coconut oil, it leaves them the most tender, yet crispy, but not greasy at all! Soybean oil works pretty well too.)

-- 1 package Boca Crumbles, crumbled Gimme Lean or 2 cups reconstituted TVP granules
-- 1 8 - 10 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like RoTel brand but they may be too spicy for some...)
-- 1 cup frozen corn
-- 1/2 cup salsa
-- 1/2 cup water (may need more, some burger tends to dry out)
-- 1 can black beans, rinsed and well drained
-- 1 Tb. dry taco seasoning (use a commercial blend or make your own with cumin, chili powder, cayenne, oregano, etc...)

taco "fixins" according to preference:
- shredded lettuce (or cabbage is awesome!!)
- tomatoes
- onions
- chopped fresh cilantro
- olives
- Tofutti Sour Supreme (vegan sour cream)
- shredded vegan "cheese
- guacamole or cubes of avocado
- leftover 'Spanish Rice'
- chopped fresh jalapenos
- fire roasted green chile sauce
- salsa

To fry the tortillas:
(Yes, I said "FRY". No-one claimed these were low calorie!)
Heat 1/4 inch oil in cast iron skillet.
When very hot (but NOT smoking!) lay corn tortilla in. It will puff up in 15 - 30 seconds.
Fry for another 10 seconds or so, until just starting to get golden spots.
Flip carefully with tongs.
Fry another 20 seconds or until starting to brown. Using tongs, remove to paper towel.
Here's the the tricky part!
Quickly blot excess oil with a folded paper towel. (Careful, they're HOT!!)
Fold in half quickly before they start to cool.
Keep warm in covered dish in low oven.
Continue process until all tortillas are fried.
As you get the hang of it it gets easier. You can do several at a time, they'll overlap a bit but they still cook up just fine. (It's much easier than it sounds).
Taco "Meat" Filling:
Crumble burger in frying pan with a small bit of oil.
Add corn and beans and start to warm.
Puree salsa, tomatoes, water and seasoning in blender or food processor.
Add to burger mixture. Simmer on low while cooking taco shells. You may need to add water, depending on how much the burger absorbs and how long it simmers. It shouldn't be dry and it shouldn't be overly juicy...
Add the fixin's!
Shred, slice, chop, grate... Prepare whatever condiments you prefer.
Serve taco "meat" filling and other goodies in bowls and let everyone dig in and make their own tacos just how they like them!


Pixie said...

Mmmmm...taco night. I'm Mexicana and there's nothing like walking up to a taco cart in either Mexico or here since you can find these wonderful things everywhere. Thank you for sharing and posting yours here. We fry up our own tortillas, too. They taste so much better that way. Again, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

im so hungry now, i love mexican food!