This isn't your ordinary, average taco recipe. We mix ground beef with tomato paste and chili powder. This gives the beef a soft texture, which contrasts beautifully with the crispiness of the fried corn tortilla. Try to avoid using extra lean ground beef. You want the fat from the beef to interact with the tomato and spices to create the juicy texture that makes these tacos so good. We use Oaxaca cheese in this recipe, which is a lovely semi-hard Mexican cheese. It's similar in taste and texture to Mozzarella (so you can substitute Mozzarella if you can't find Oaxaca). This recipe makes about 16 tacos, but if that's too much all at once you can certainly freeze some of the beef mixture for later.
Fried Beef Tacos
with Oaxaca and Montery Jack cheese
Monterey Jack Cheese
Mince about 1 cup of white onion. Put in a small bowl and set aside.
Mince 3 cloves of garlic and set aside.
Chop 1 large heirloom tomato - enough for about ½ cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chop 1 avocado (after removing the skin and pit). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the chopped avocado, tomato, garlic, and about ¼ cup of the minced onion in a small mixing bowl. Gently stir, being careful not to mash the avocado or tomato. You just want to mix them up a bit. Set the bowl aside.
Shred about ½ cup of Oaxaca cheese.
Shred about ½ cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
Mix the shredded Oaxaco and Montery Jack cheeses in a small mixing bowl.
Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan and heat on medium.
Stir in remaining minced onion. Cook until it just starts to brown.
Add 1 pound of ground beef, stirring frequently until it's mostly browned.
Stir in 8 ounces of tomato paste.
Stir in about 6 tablespoons of chili powder. Mix well. Continue cooking for another minute or so.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix well. Cook for a couple more minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and put the beef mixture in a small bowl.
Heat some lard in a large straight-sided pan - you want to use enough so you have about the thickness of a tortilla when the lard is "melted".
Add a spoonful of beef mixture and a pinch of the shredded Oaxaca/Monterey cheese to a corn tortilla. Place the tortilla in the pan, and cook just long enough to let it crisp up a bit.
Fold the tortilla over itself like an omelette. Cook a little while longer, then flip over and cook the other side. You want both sides to be golden brown.
Repeat until you've used up all the beef mixture. (It might help to keep the cooked tacos warm in the oven until they're all done).
Finally, open the cooked tacos and add tomato/avocado mixture and shredded cheese. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!