Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

A better path to Mexican ground beef?

Do you like simple Mexican food, but sometimes the grease is overwhelming? Dislike the sometimes harsh taste of pan-fried ground meat? Well, here's a little-experienced method usually found in tiny hole-in-the-wall cocinas and neighborhood Mexican restaurants.

Have you ever considered making tacos, etc., with boiled ground meat? Done in this method, you retain all the great taste and you lose almost all the nasty grease - and on top of all that it has a different almost velvety mouth feel. It even freezes well. La comida mas fina!

Here's one way:

2 lb. ground chuck
2T chili powder
1t cumin
1t garlic powder
1t paprika
1t salt
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 onion

Put the meat in a pan and add seasonings (plus more to taste). Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about an hour. Every 15 minutes or so break up the meat so it isn't lumpy. Just make sure you don't run out of water - keep just enough to cover meat. Once done, add finely-diced onion & bell pepper and simmer like another 20 minutes or so. It will be pretty finely textured, like this:
Remove from stove pour into strainer. Let the meat sitting the strainer for 10 or 15 minutes to make sure all grease drains out, pressing it if need be. You want to keep the liquid, but get rid of the grease. Put the liquid in the freezer for a few minutes. When grease separates and starts to harden on top, take a spoon and remove all of it. Save about a cup of the cleaned liquid - the rest can be saved towards a soup, or poured over the dog's food for a treat, a little at a time.

Place the reserved liquid in a small pan bring to a boil. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of corn starch in about 1/4 cup of cold water add to liquid, simmer 4 or 5 more minutes. Dump the reserved meat into the pan and mix liquid well into meat. Now we have tasty moist taco meat, but grease free. It can be used for so many things, but here I demonstrate the simple taco:
I mixed up some fresh Pico de Gallo, and put it in the fridge to chill:
Then it was time to assemble the tacos. Atop the meat is a light shred of cheddar cheese, and the entire plate dusted with chile powder before topping with the Pico de Gallo. I didn't have any, or it might have been treated to a few avocado slices as well.

Every bit as good as it looks!


Anonymous said...

Wow Mark I've never heard of such a thing, but I will try it next time cause I hate the greasy taco.
Thanks for sharing that!!!

Eli said...

Thanks for the recipe! I have been on a quest to improve my taco meat recipe, but was never fully satisfied with the results from my saute pan. I was looking for a softer texture and less grease, and it looks like this recipe provides both. I may try replacing the water with beef broth to see how that tastes.

Jeff said...

Hey Mark, thanks for putting this up. I have been a fan of the "finely ground" meat often found at Mexican restaurants, but have yet to find out how they cook their meat. I am doing to have to try this out, because it looks like it might be the real deal.

Thanks a bunch!

Debbie from MN said...

I am so thankful you posted this. I have been struggling for the past few years to get my ground beef to break down like this. I made your recipe today for tostadas and it turned out perfectly. I can't wait to use it on my mother-in-law's recipe for taverns (an Iowa version of the sloppy joe that calls for very fine ground beef and almost no sauce). Again, this was really delicious!

Patti said...

This is THE BEST taco meat recipe I have ever found. No need to look further! Thank you Mark!

Patti from Oregon

Anonymous said...

just tried this - with delicious results!
thanks a bunch

Maria said...

ditto. delicious, lean. thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

Anonymous said...

I agree....this is what I've been looking for. (Easily tweakable, and far superior to the 1 lb ground beef and dry taco mix with a a bit of water in a skillet...)
Try adding a bit of this to your standard Rotel/Velveeta dip...delicious!

Jack Sharpe said...

Thanks for posting. I searched high and low for how to make meat with this texture. Some suggested using a food processor or chopping the meat after frying. Well, I followed your instructions and it came out perfect. This is what I was searching for.

kay chinn said...

This has become out GOTO taco recipe! Thank you so much! And the technique with the ground beef is how i brown it everytime now. Especially for Chile. Best find yet!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this recipe!

Nathan Boling said...

Has the house smelling good hopefully the tacos are just as tasty!

Tim said...

We found this recipe a couple years ago after an exhaustive search for that perfect Tex-Mex restaurant texture. We have been using it ever since and like to entertain guests with this recipe. They're always amazed at how we get that perfect texture with an amazing flavor,