Monday, July 9, 2012

Tacos TSC: Tortillas, Salsa, Chorizo!

If you have ever eaten a taco from one of those 'questionable' looking silver trucks, you know good tacos when you see them.  You also do not stoop to the lows of a mass producing taco chain that shall remain nameless on this site, but we all know rhymes with Paco Dell, because you respect the hand held meal. You know that homemade tortillas, kitchen made salsa, and made from scratch chorizo are far superior to anything that comes in through your car window. I suppose you are now talking yourself out of the fact that you could make a meal like the one pictured above.  Quoting how time constraints and know how will surely work against you trying to create anyting similar to these delectable looking tacos. But I'm here to tell you that you can. Yes, you, reading this blog.  You can make your own tacos.  Now say it with me.

"I can make my own tacos!" (a fist pump here would be appropriate)

And what's even better, you can make your own tortillas for these tacos! Double score!!

No, no, do not click off this site, keep reading.  This culinary adventure couldn't be more easy or more fun.  Simply follow the recipes here to the last letter and sit down to a meal anyone could be proud of. Then invite your friends, make margarittas or and mojitos, and have yourself a little Cinco De Mayo in July! Arriba!

Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 c. (or more) masa*
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. water

    Mix the masa and salt together and then stir in the water until a dough forms. The dough should look a feel similar to playdough. Add more masa if it seems to wet and sticky and more water if it's too crumbly. Then make golf ball sized balls of dough and press in a tortilla press lined with plasitc.  (you could roll these out if you don't have a press, but it will obvsiously take longer.) Press out one tortilla at a time.
    Heat a cast iron pan on med-high and cook each tortilla 1-2 minutes until charred on the edges and in spots. Flip and cook another 15 seconds or so on the other side. Keep in a moist papertowl or warm oven until ready to serve.

*Masa is corn tortilla mix that you can find in your international food isle, along with most of the ingredients for this post. Look for the Maseca brand.

Toasted Guajillo Chile Salsa
Adapted from Bon Appetit

4 oz. dried guajillo chiles (about 18)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder

   In a large cast iron skillet on med-high heat, working in batches, toast the chilies until slightly puffed and fragrant. 15-20 seconds a side. Remove and cut into strips with kitchen shears into a medium bowl. Use as many of the seeds as you want, the more you use, the hotter it will be (but not unbearably hot...think hot wings).  Cover with 2 cups very hot water and let soak for 10 minutes.
    In the same skillet, cook the unpeeled garlic, turning often, until tender and slightly charred.  Let cool and peel.
    Put all the chiles with liquid, garlic, and remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until a coarse puree forms. You don't want this super smooth. Season with salt to taste.

Eat your heart out Pace store bought salsa.

On to the chorizo!

Homemade Chorizo
Adapted from Bon Apetit

6 dried New Mexico chilies
8 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 lb ground pork

    Just like making the salsa: In a large cast iron skillet on med-high heat, toast the chilies until slightly puffed and fragrant. 30 seconds a side. Remove and cut into strips with kitchen shears into a medium bowl. Cover the chilies with 1/2 cup hot water and let soak for 10 minutes, stirring ccasionally.        
   Transfer to a blender or food processor the chilies with liquid, garlic, paprika, 1 Tbsp salt and the pepper. Pulse until a paste forms. Combine the pork with the paste and gently mix until just blended.
    Heat the cast iron skillet you had out earlier back up to med-heat and cook the chorizo in 2 batches. Make sure you let the meat brown up really well before you turn it over and break it up. Continue until both pounds of chorizo are cooked.

Now assemble your tacos with whatever fixin's your little heart desires.  A sprinkle of salt, a splash of lime, a dallop of salsa, the possiblilities are endless. Here are some more great toppings: thinly sliced radish, white onion, shredded purple cabbage, cilantro, and queso fresco. Pile it as high as your mouth can stand and if most of it ends up back on your plate, just grab another tortilla and scoop up the rouge ingredients and shovel them into your mouth. Your taste buds and friends will most definitely thank me. 

You can thank me later.

Enjoy life homemade!

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