Small Tacos, Big Flavor

I’ll admit, I’m usually not that impressed with tacos. They are one of the least inspiring items on Chipotle’s menu, for instance. And unlike burritos, there is an awkward, head-tilting, neck-cramping, back-hunching, posture required so that gravity does not totally undo the taco’s unsteadily upright structure.

Now the way this story goes, I accidentally bought ground sirloin instead of ground chuck this past week. I was thinking that burgers might be a good dinner food, but I ended up with a package of meat I have little experience cooking. Because of sirloin’s leanness, I didn’t want to make burgers that would only turn out to be dry. So my boyfriend and I poked around his refrigerator a bit and ultimately decided that some kind of beef taco would be the most economic use of all the ingredients we consistently have.

After scouring the Internet for different recipes for taco meat, I came across one that seemed the most straightforward and amateur-proof. In addition, my boyfriend strongly dislikes ketchup and we don’t use Worcestershire sauce, so that made it a bit more difficult to find the right recipe.

Southwestern-Flavored Ground Beef for Tacos via (with some KbK modifications)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (We used a sweet onion.)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (We doubled the amount of garlic, just ’cause we love garlic.)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (We didn’t have any… oops.)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal

The meat was well-seasoned with a slight edge from the chili powder and a subtle earthiness from the cumin. The onions caramelized perfectly and the garlic really brightened up the smell of everything. The diced tomatoes and final addition of cornmeal just integrates everything in a thick, flavorful sauce. We generously spooned portions of the ground beef onto store-bought corn tortillas and sprinkled on a healthy pile of shredded mozzarella cheese. After microwaving for about 40 seconds, the corn tortillas were warm and moist and the cheese was nicely gooey.

Finally, before indulging completely, we added a few more raw sweet onions and chopped green onions. The initial strength of the raw onion melds well with the flavor of the sirloin as it spreads throughout your mouth.

A great weekday sort of meal, the ground sirloin reheats well. The addition of a few fresh ingredients, like the two types of onions on something as banal as a store-bought package of corn tortillas makes enough of a difference. Finally, a taco that left me wanting more.


About kraftedbykelly
I'm a California girl living in Durham, North Carolina. I like to focus on baking from scratch, student-friendly cooking, and both high and low dining.

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