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Beef Tacos

Introduction & method

Tacos spread from Mexico to the US and hit the mainstream when Glenn Bell began opening his Taco Bell restaurants. I don't claim any kind of authenticity for this recipe, it's just a simple adaptation that's really easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Beef Tacos Recipe

This recipe is based on using 18cm (7 inch) tortillas for the shells. Commercial taco shells are smaller than that, so the filling recipe would probably do for 4.

Make Your Shells

Of course, you can buy ready-made taco shells, but it's easy to make your own and I find the bright yellow colour of the commercial ones a little offputting. So, preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F) for a fan oven, 190°C (374°F) for a conventional one, gas 5. Spray the tortillas both sides with a little oil, and sprinkle with sea salt if you like. Now you need some way of draping the tortillas so they form a U-shape. You can use the bars of an oven shelf for this, if they are not too far apart. You don't really want the bottom of the shell to be more than 2½ cm (an inch) wide. My shelf bars are more than that, so I rigged up a deep casserole dish and straddled it with 2 wooden spoon handles for one tortilla, and a steel ruler for the other. Bake your tortillas for 8-10 minutes - you don't really want them to brown much, and you do want them to be a bit flexible.

Make the Beef Filling

Peel and finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and cut the green bell pepper into narrow strips, then cut the strips in half. Heat some oil in a frying pan on medium heat and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Add the minced garlic and the green pepper, cook for a few minutes, then add the minced beef. Break the mince up and get it browned all over. Now add the tomato puree, stir that in well, and then add the chilli flakes and black pepper. Give it a taste and add salt if it needs it. Simmer everything gently for another 10 minutes, then set aside. If you find the mixture is getting too dry, add a splash of water, but be careful not to add too much - there shouldn't be any gravy floating around.

Assemble the Tacos

Spoon a generous amount of the meat mixture into each shell and top with grated cheese. Stand them on a plate - mine wouldn't stand up so I placed them in a silicone loaf tin. Microwave for 90 seconds. To serve, top with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, soured cream and finely chopped coriander (cilantro). You can add other things like guacamole or crispy bacon if you like.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Beef Tacos on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 2 large corn tortillas
 a sprinkling of sea salt
 a few squirts of spray oil
 250 grams minced (ground) beef
 1 medium onion
 3-4 cloves garlic
 half a green bell pepper
 2 tbsp tomato puree
 half a tsp red chilli flakes
 half a tsp ground black pepper
  salt, to taste

Oil for sautéeing. Toppings - things like shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, soured cream, finely chopped coriander.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 2 big tacos
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Total time: 45 minutes.