TACOS DE NOPALITOS

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This recipe contains no meat whatsoever and due to that I have no idea why I like it. A vegitarian I am not, not even close. Hell I usually don’t consider something a meal if it doesn’t contain meat. And yet these tacos are made of cactus and other vegetables with nary a bit of meat in the ingredients. Nopales are the large paddle shaped pads of the prickly pear cactus. They are covered with spines and the prep can be a pain in the ass but it’s totally worth it. Luckily for me I live in Texas and there are enough Supermercado Gigantes around that I can find nopales already cleaned. If you can’t, don’t worry I’m including the directions here. Enough rambling, let’s make with the tacos…

Ingredients:

3-4 fresh nopales
2-3 fresh jalapenos
1 large onion
2 medium tomatoes
2 medium tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp cooking oil
2 red bell peppers
2-3 avocados
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
Salt (to taste)
Corn tortillas (homemade is best, always)
Queso Cotija de Montaña

Prep:

nopales uncleanedNopales: If you’re a Gringo like me and haven’t handled cactus pads a lot you might want to wear clean rubber gloves (the dishwashing variety for this part!
Rinse the nopales under cold running water. Now, you see those bumps all over the Nopales? Remove every last one with either a vegetable peeler or a small knife. Don’t skin the whole pad, just removed all the bumps. When you’re done you should have a stack of nice, smooth pads. Now cut off the thick base and about a quarter inch around the edges. Throw these parts away and then slice the pads into about a quarter inch thick strips.

Peppers and chiles: Clean and seed the jalapenos and bell peppers. Slice these about the same as you did with the nopales

Tomatoes: Seed the tomatoes and dice

Garlic and onions: Peel and dice

Avocado: Peel, seed, and slice

Once you have everything all sliced and diced grab a large skillet with a lid. Heat half your cooking oil on medium-high until it’s nice and hot. Drop in your nopales and give them a good shake or four of salt. Stir this for two to three minutes then drop your heat to medium and put a lid on your skillet. Let this simmer for about twenty minutes. During this time the nopales will exude a gelatinous substance. The long simmer is cooking this out and drying it up. If there’s still some left after twenty minutes just cook a little longer.

Once the nolapes are done take them out and put them in a bowl. Put the rest of your cooking oil in the skillet and bring the heat up to medium-high. Drop in the rest of your ingredients and give them a liberal shake of salt and cook until the onions are clear and the bell pepper is soft but not mushy. Drop the cooked nopales back in to the skillet and stir until everything is hot.

Serve while hot on warm corn tortillas with the sliced avocado and sprinkled with queso Cotija de Montaña. I have been told that a pinch of fresh shredded cilantro is also good on these but since I can’t taste cilantro without being ill I don’t ever include it in my recipes but I’m giving it an honorable mention on this one.

Chorizo, Potato, and Egg Breakfast Tacos

breakfast taco

I love me some breakfast tacos! Here in Texas we are lucky and have Rudy’s BBQ where you can get an amazing brisket and egg breakfast taco. This post isn’t about that fabulous creation, if you want that find a Rudy’s. The chorizo breakfast taco is a much more traditional taco and is a favorite around these parts. It’s pretty easy to make overall and you won’t find a more satisfying breakfast outside of Rudy’s.

2 dozen eggs
1 cup of milk
1 lb chorizo (The Mexican kind not the Spanish kind)
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped small
1 large onion diced
Shredded cheese of your choosing (Any kind of cheese is good on this)

Cook the chorizo and onions in a large skillet over medium high heat about ten minutes until done.
Take the chorizo and onions out leaving enough of the grease to coat the skillet well, drain the chorizo.
Cook the potatoes in the skillet with the chorizo grease until nicely browned and crispy.
Whip the eggs and milk together well.
Add the chorizo and the eggs to the skillet with a little bit of the chorizo grease and cook until done.
Serve on warm corn tortillas with shredded cheese and garnished with pico or the hot sauce of your choice.

In case anyone was wondering, I have a large family. Some of these recipes may be better halved for a smaller group of people. I’m thinking I’ll have to venture in to more exotic taco recipes as the more traditional taco recipes are slowly running out. Being from Houston there are a lot of fusion restaurants and food trucks to provide inspiration for these recipes. One thing I promise is that I won’t post a recipe I haven’t tried and that hasn’t been vetted by the family. Just like our music reviews you can be sure our taco recipes are of the highest quality. Heck I’d say if you end up not liking one then there’s probably something wrong with you.

Shredded Pork Tacos

This one is a decidedly Tex-Mex recipe. I came up with this when whole pork loins were really cheap and I was really broke and it ended up being a family favorite. There’s nothing authentic about but these are some damn fine tacos! I failed to take a picture last time I made these so you’ll have to make do with no food porn this time.

1 whole pork loin (Not a tenderloin, a whole vac-pack loin 3-5 lbs)
4 Poblano chiles seeded and cut into large pieces
3 cloves of garlic crushed
2 large yellow onions chopped coarsely
2-3 tbps chipoltle chili powders
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
Vegetable oil
Salt
1-2 cups of water

Cube the pork loin in to 1 to 1.5 inch chunks and lightly coat with salt.
Coat your dutch oven or similar pan liberally with vegetable oil and saute the onions, set asise.
Apply more oil and brown the pork cubes when almost brown add the poblano chiles.
Once the pork is browned add the onions and spices
Add water until it covers about 3/4 of the mixture, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer
Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the pork is falling apart. You may need to add water but be careful not to add to much.
By the time the pork is falling apart the juices should be cooked down and fairly thick.
Shred the pork in the juices using a spatula or other implement (I use an old potato masher)

For the best flavor serve on corn tortillas with Chihuahua cheese and a bit of sour cream. The tacos are simple, no salad, no pico, just meat and cheese but the flavor is rich and deep. I certainly hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and hope you’ll come back and let me know how you like it or what you did to make it better!

PICADILLO TACOS

picadillo

Well it’s been a while since a taco recipe got posted but since Mike mentioned the sporadic taco recipes I decided it’s time for a new recipe. Being raised in Houston I have had the pleasure of tasting many types of tacos from gourmet (usually strange and not worth going back for more) to the roach coach variety and one of my favorites has always been the picadillo taco. Everyone makes theirs differently and this is my own personal take on a Mexican picadillo taco.

What is picadillo you may wonder? Well it’s a hash, in essence, a mince for our Eurotrash readers, and the ingredients vary by region. It is a staple and can be savory or a mix of savory and sweet. I prefer mine without the sweet and wrapped in tortillas de maize. It’s a little work to put together but you can trust me on this, it’s worth it! Be sure and read all the way through before cooking. And yeah, this one has a little bite but it’s not so spicy Autopsy couldn’t eat it.

1lb ground beef
2 tbsp oil
1 medium sized onion (I prefer yellow) chopped fine
1/4 cup poblano pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1/4 cup bell pepper (I prefer red), seeded and chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground coarse ground black pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 large tomatoes, peeled, cored, and dicded
2 medium potatoes, chopped coarse
1 cup beef stock

Lightly brown the hamburger meat in a large skillet with the oil
Once lightly browned toss in everything but the potatoes and for about ten minutes, until the onions are mostly clear
Add in the potatoes and beef stock and bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes stirring every 5-10 until the potatoes are tender
Serve with corn tortillas garnished with some nice queso fresco and if you’re so inclined (me and AIV aren’t) fresh cilantro.

I’d personally pair this one with a nice dark Mexican or South American beer and some Gary P. Nun. We’ve got the music for you but you’ll have to buy your own beer…

TACOS: PORK SHOULDER

I’m not old and I don’t feel old but one sign of the aging process setting in on you is when you get your first ongoing medical condition.  I’ve only got one and it’s not something that’s going to put me in the ground but I do have to deal with it on a daily basis.  Several years ago the doctor at the clinic told me I had gout and that there were some things I needed to watch, eating wise, and that I needed to swallow this little pill every morning after breakfast.

One of the things the doc told me to minimize was the pork.  This was boo boo bad news because only a few years back I had invented the greatest southern/Mexican fusion entrée, pork chop quesadillas.  But alas, maybe twice a year I allow myself to buy a pork shoulder from the store and leave it in the slow cooker for a couple of hours.

Here’s what you need to do:  Turn on your slow cooker to high.  Dump in any or all three of the following liquids- Coca-Cola, bourbon, beer.  It doesn’t much matter the quantity of each but you want a nice liquid base.  If you’re having to choice what to go heavy on and what to go light on consider dollars spent on each.  Then add BBQ sauce, I strongly strongly recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s, but if you have some crappy KC Masterpiece around dump that shit in there.  Then add ketchup and Cholula.    Finally add some Herdez Verde Salsa, hot, and stir all that shit together.  The  slow cooker should be a little warm now and your sauce should be sizzling a bit.

Now it’s time to season your shoulder.  Salt and pepper will do or you could use one of those pre bottled seasoning mix.  The only thing that matters is that you must season all the way around the meat.  Then stick it in the slow cooker.  Remember you’re cooking on the high option so three to four hours later flip the shoulder and turn it to low.  Three or four hours after that take it out and leave it on the cutting board for a little while before pulling it all apart.

Let’s make some tacos

Maybe you won’t call this a taco but I do and I don’t care what you say.  Heat a pan with a little butter in it and stick a whole wheat tortilla in it.  Then sprinkle some shredded cheese on it.  Now stick some of that delicious meat you made on it, then a little more cheese and some Herdez Verde Salsa and some Herdez Salsa Casera Medium.  Fold the tortilla in half and if it’s a little crispy then eat that shit.

 

Leftover Plans:  Reheat the meat slowly and add a little extra BBQ sauces.  Then make nachos.

TACOS: GUISADA

GUISADA

This is my all time favorite taco filling! It’s an easy to make Mexican stew dish that only takes one big iron skillet.

1/2 tablespoon oil, lard, or shortening
1 1/2 pounds cubed sirloin (You can use “stew meat” but sirloin has mad flavor)
1 tablespoon of flour
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 cup of cubed potato
2 fresh jalapeños (Don’t forget to strip the membranes and seeds out otherwise they burn twice!)
2 tomatoes chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes (not drained)
1/2 teaspoon chili powders
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 to 3 cups of water

Put the meat and your choice of fat in to a large iron skillet and brown the meat over high heat while sprinkling with the tablespoon of flour.
Turn the heat down to medium-high and add the chopped onion and bell pepper and cook until the onion is translucent.
Toss everything else in the skillet with enough water to not quite cover everything and reduce to a simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours adding water as necessary.
If the sauce isn’t thick enough add some corn starch to thicken.

Serve on corn tortillas with fresh lettuce and sliced avocado.

(Thanks to BozBros for the picture because my guisada never looks that neat when I am done!)