One of the great things about tacos is the endless possibilities that comes with them! I’ve always loved Moroccan food and I thought that tacos would be a great way to experience it again. The chicken is seasoned with a fragrant blend of spices and shreds easily with a fork. I always choose whole chickens for taco meat as I’ve noticed they come out perfectly tender every time. I chose a spicy salsa based on the flavors of traditional Moroccan Harissa paste. It gave the tacos a good amount of spiciness and flavor. Since preserved lemon is an important ingredient in Moroccan food I topped the tacos with a refreshing Preserved Lemon and Mint Salsa. To cool things down I garnished the tacos with creamy goat cheese.
Roasted a whole chicken is a perfect meat for tacos because it is tender, flavorful and easy to shred. I chose a basic spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano for the chicken. Then I baked it in the oven for a few hours which gave me enough time to make some fresh Pico de Gallo and shredded manchego cheese. Manchego is a great cheese for tacos because it has the creaminess of queso fresco but with a little more tartness. The tacos turned out really well! The smoky flavor of the chicken worked nicely with the manchego and creamy avocado. The recipe for the chicken is pretty versatile so I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with different salsas and condiments next time!
Once I had my Corn Esquites Salad ready I decided to try it out in tacos. I settled on using a whole oven roasted chicken because the meat is tender and shreds easily so its perfect for tacos. I was thinking about which spices I wanted to use to season the chicken and I thought chipotle and lime would work well with the corn salad. I settled on a simple dry rub of chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, allspice and oregano. While the chicken was roasting the kitchen started to smell heavenly and I couldn’t wait to try them out! The tacos were really tasty and easy to put together. The smoky flavor of the chipotle and the tangy lime juice were a great combination. The recipe makes 12 tacos, or enough for two people for two dinners (3 tacos each).
Since Korean food works great with Tex-mex I wanted to try Korean-style tacos again! Usually “kalbi” refers to Korean BBQ short ribs but I really wanted to try the kalbi marinade on skirt steak since it’s a great meat for tacos. The marinade consists of ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and asian pears so it was really easy to throw together. If you can’t find asian pears I think it would be alright to substitute in regular pears. I marinated the steak for about an hour before grilling. I used a flat pan to saute the beef at a high temperature, but I’m sure grilling the beef would be a great way to get extra flavor. The tacos were really tasty! I loved the sear on the beef along with the flavors of the kalbi marinade. I really enjoyed the sweet and savory kalbi beef with the tangy sesame soy dressing. I topped the tacos with chopped tomatoes, a cilantro lime salsa and sesame soy sauce dressing.
Who knew you could grill avocados? I had no idea until I read the recipe for these tacos. I loved the idea of tangy goat cheese coupled with the avocado slices and honey lime dressing. It sounded like the perfect quick summer meal so I knew I had to give it a try! I thought a good spice blend of black beans seasoned with achiote seed, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika would be a great addition to these tacos. The avocados had a slightly different flavor after grilling that was unique and hard to describe. I guess the flavor became a little more smokey with a stronger avocado smell. The tacos were really good! I especially liked the simple honey lime dressing to give the filling some brightness.
What better way to try out a tasty new salsa than to serve it with tacos? I picked out a skirt steak for these tacos because you can get a great sear on the outside and I figured it would go well with the salsa. I went simple and just seasoned the steak with a little cumin and smoked paprika. The salsa, steak and onions went really nicely together. Caramelized onions are so good on tacos so I add them in whenever possible. I caramelized the onions in the leftover adobo sauce which added a smokiness that wasn’t too sweet. Then for a little texture and crunch I added some red cabbage on top. A little crumbled queso fresco added creaminess (sour cream would probably work fine too.) All together, this was a really delicious taco and I look forward to having it again sometime.
Who knew butternut squash could be so versatile? As a kid, I remember only having it around Thanksgiving and the holidays. It turns out butternut squash is great on both pizza and tacos. The squash is rubbed with ground annatto/achiote seeds, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. Then it’s roasted in the oven until soft. For the toppings, I caramelized an onion with brown sugar and smoked paprika. The tacos were sweet and spicy and so good! I added a tablespoon of the black bean salsa along with some queso fresco for garnish.
When I decided to make Korean/Tex-mex food the first thing I thought of were tacos. They are so easy to load up with any ingredient you like. I settled on pork shoulder for the meat filling along with two different salsas: a red salsa flavored with fresh ginger and sesame seeds and a refreshing cilantro and lime salsa. Then I decided on kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage and crumbled queso fresco to complete it. The result was a delicious taco loaded with great toppings. The pork was cooked on low heat for about 2 hours which resulted in meat that fell off the bone. The pork was spicy and sweet which went along great with the red salsa and kimchi. The cilantro and lime salsa provided a nice crunch and the lime juice went along nicely with the other fillings. All the flavors worked so well together and I look forward to making this again!
Cochinita Pibil tacos is a traditional Mexican/Central American dish that is made by slowly roasting pork shoulder with a savory spice blend that consists of cumin seed, annatto seed, cloves and allspice berries. The pork is marinated in spices and orange juice over night, wrapped in banana leaves, and baked in the oven. Thankfully it was easy to find the annatto seeds and banana leaves at a latin grocery store. After several hours, my kitchen smelled amazing from the spices and the pork was ready to be shredded and wrapped in warm corn tacos. I added a little crumbled queso fresco and Mexican pickled onions for garnish. To add a substantial amount of heat I put a tiny bit of roasted habanero salsa on them as well. I topped the tacos with fresh cilantro. If the salsa is just too firey, add a little sour cream to cool the heat.
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My high opinion of pulled pork and pork shoulder was further validated by this recipe for Cuban pulled pork tacos. Making good pulled pork is always a very simple formula: wet rub + dry rub + marinate + several hours in an oven = fork tender, juicy pulled pork. The flavor profile of this recipe is sweet and spicy, which comes from the cuban dry rub and fresh orange and lime juices. The red cabbage and jicama slaw added more sweet heat along with some texture and crunch. The chipotle mayonnaise was surprising as I had never eaten mayo with a taco before but the results were great nonetheless. The mayo is super easy to throw together as all it requires is mixing mayo and a few tablespoons of pureed chiles in adobo sauce with a little lime juice. I topped the tacos with sour cream and chopped cilantro.