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Turkey Tacos Saturday, November 7, 2015
Turkey Tacos

I started making ground beef tacos mixed with chopped vegetables as a way to keep my son healthy. What kid likes veggies, right? After so many years now, I can't live without the greenery in my tacos. My recipe has also matured over the years. I used to take a Taco Bell seasoning pack and bump it up with extra chili powder and other spices. I have also substituted beef with turkey, replaced the store bought seasonings with my own concoction and even deep fry corn tortillas to make my own shells. If I could make the sour cream topping I would, lol.

Turkey Tacos

The shells are pretty easy to make but require some practice. My first batch was attempted in the oven. What a terrible idea. They never got crispy enough and they ripped on the edges. You really need to deep fry corn tortillas to get that crunchy crisp. The oil also adds a great flavor to the tortillas that is sorely missed when they are baked.

Turkey Tacos

Pour a pool of vegetable oil into a thick pan. The oil should be deep enough to easily submerge the tortilla. I tried a couple of different temperatures and settled on halfway between medium and medium high. Too hot and they brown without crisping all the way through. Too low and they soak up a ton of oil. When the tortilla starts stiffening, you need to fold it and hold it with Metal Tongs.

Turkey Tacos

It's an art form to get the shell shaped correctly and really can't be described accurately. You just have to practice till you get the shells crispy and nicely shaped. It took me about four batches before I became really good at achieving ideal results. The payoff is so worth it as these shells taste way better than the over processed store bought brands. You can also save them for days, simply warming them up at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for three to five minutes.

Turkey Tacos

Brown the ground turkey or beef on medium high (I prefer the taste of turkey in this dish and I'm a beef lover). Spread the seasoning mix of chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cumin on the top as the meat is searing. As you are chopping the meat up with a spatula, the seasonings will mix gradually. There is no need to cook the meat thoroughly as it will be simmered later. Remove the browned meat and set aside in a bowl to collect the juices.

Turkey Tacos

Sauté the onion and jalapeño first for a few minutes on medium high. Season with the extra salt and pepper at this point. Add the sliced mushrooms and chop them with the spatula as you are cooking so the pieces are smaller. After another few minutes, introduce the bell pepper, cilantro and garlic and cook for another minute. The vegetables only have to be mostly cooked as they will be simmered.

Turkey Tacos

Add the meat back to the pan and mix with the vegetables. Mix the chicken stock with the corn starch and add it to the pan and mix for a few minutes till the sauce begins to thicken. Cover the pan, turn the temperature down to low and simmer the taco filling for twenty to thirty minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings including sour cream, grated cheese, tomatoes and hot sauce.

Turkey Tacos

There is an ongoing feud in our house about which hot sauce is the best. I grew up on Pico Pica and my wife prefers Cholula. Cholula has a sour taste while Pico Pica is straight up hot peppers. Which do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.

   

Ingredients: Serves: 6

Shells
  20 Each Corn Tortillas (6 inch)
  2 Cups Vegetable Oil (Amount Determined by Diameter of Pan)
Protein
  2 Pounds Ground Turkey or Beef
  2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  1/2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  1 1/2 Tsp Salt
  1/2 Tsp Black Pepper (Freshly Ground)
Vegetables
  1 Each Onion (Diced)
  2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  1/2 Tsp Salt
  1/4 Tsp Black Pepper (Freshly Ground)
  1 Each Red Bell Pepper (Diced)
  8 Oz Mushrooms (Sliced)
  1 Each Jalapeño
  3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  1/2 Cup Cilantro (Loose, not Packed)
  1/3 Cup Chicken Stock
  2 Tsp Corn Starch
Garnish
  16 Oz Sour Cream
  8 Oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
  1 Each Tomato (Diced)
  1 Bottle Pico Pica or Cholula Hot Sauce

Steps: Prep Time: 1 hour

Fry Tortillas
Heat a thick pan with a pool of vegetable oil on medium to medium high. Cook tortillas till they start to stiffen then fold and hold till they form the shape of a taco shell. Set aside to cool.
Brown Meat
Brown the ground meat on medium high with the spice mix. Set aside in a bowl to collect juices.
Sauté Vegetables
Sauté the vegetables on medium high starting with onions and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms, breaking them up with your spatula. Next add the bell pepper and garlic. Mix for one more minute and add cilantro.
Mix Meat and Veggies
Mix the meat and veggies on medium high. Add the chicken stock and corn starch and stir for a few minutes. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve
Fill taco shells with meat and garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes and hot sauce.

Comments:

Gretchen 11/08/2015
  I'm going to try this. Do you think that I could make the meat mix and save small portions to the freezer? It's just me alone I am cooking for so It would help me to have these often if the meat was pre-prepared. And you have inspired me to make my own taco shells!
Response by:   John Mark Osborne
I don't freeze a lot of prepared foods but I don't see why not. Meat freezes pretty well. I would recommend defrosting it at room temperature, rather than in hot water, to preserve the quality of the meat.

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