Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taco night...

I'm not sure how many of you had "taco night" when you were growing up. It happened about once a month at my house and I remember always being very excited about it. Here in Los Angeles there are so many amazing and authentic taco stands and Mexican restaurants. Tacos here are typically made with soft corn tortilla shells and a variety of fillings that are exotic and muy delicioso. Growing up in Canada, we didn't have as much Hispanic influence as here in Southern California. Our taco shells came out of a box and were of the hard-shell variety. We used ground beef and a packaged taco seasoning mix. I realize now that Canadian tacos from the 1980s are a far cry from the real deal but boy were they good!

In the past year, I started doing "taco night" for my kids and my son has really taken a liking to it. It's cute because he used to think the shredded cheddar was carrot. Of course, for the sake of nostalgia, I serve them the hard shells. Maybe one day, "taco night" will be a fond childhood memory for them too. Here is tonight's attempt at making my own seasoned taco meat. It turned out pretty good.
Turkey Tacos

Meat filling

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs of ground turkey
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp corn starch
Salt and pepper
12 white corn taco shells (hard)

Toppings (as little or as many as you like)

Shredded lettuce
Chopped avocado or gaucamole
Good store-bought salsa or make your own
Sour cream
Shredded cheese

In a small bowl whisk to combine the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water. Set aside.

In a medium pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and saute for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the ground turkey and continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. About 7 minutes or until the meat is barely pink anymore. Add the spices and water mixture and stir to combine everything. When it comes back to a boil, turn down the heat to a low simmer.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until a thickened, gravy-like sauce has formed. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a serving bowl.

Heat up the taco shells according to package directions. Serve with toppings of your choice.

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