Some recipes you make because they taste great.  Some recipes you make simply because they remind you of your childhood.  This recipe for ground beef tacos is both.  As a kid, taco night was about every two weeks or so, and I loved it.  It wasn’t until much later, I learned my mom’s version was a less than authentic, clearly Mexican-American, version.  For years, I made more traditional chicken, steak and pork tacos, but eventually started to include this childhood recipe in the mix.  Today, I consider them very different, but just as desirable, as any version of tacos I make.  Give them a try, let me know how it goes, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Recipe Overview & Keys to Success

Ground beef tacos are really easy to make and the meat freezes quite well.  So make a large batch and store some away for a fast dinner later on.  Just make sure when you make your tacos, to following a few key cooking techniques:

  1. Brown the meat off first, then remove it from the pan, before cooking the vegetables and the sauce.  You need to drain the fat from the meat, and if you cooked everything together, you’d lose a lot of flavor in the draining process
  2. The onion, garlic and peppers, should sauté until tender, but you don’t need to brown them…if you have time toast the pepper over the lit gas burner to get a bit of char on the skin, and then rub off the skin before chopping
  3. I like to cook the tomato paste, and the spices, along with the vegetables before adding the meat back to the pan.  Cooking them allows some of the sugars in the tomato to caramelize and the essential oil in the spices to activate
  4. Most of the flavors in these tacos are rich and bold…I like to add some freshly chopped cilantro and lime juice at the end to brighten the flavors

GROUND BEEF TACOS
Ingredient for Ground Beef Tacos (for 4)

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pasilla (or other favorite) pepper
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoon jarred salsa
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Hard taco shells
  • Taco garnish of your choice (sour cream, cheese, lettuce, salsa….)

Ground Beef Tacos

  • Heat a large skillet over high temperature and coat the bottom with olive oil
  • Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and break it up with a wooden spoon as the meat browns
  • Once browned, remove the meat to a bowl and drain 90% of the accumulated fat
  • Add the onion, garlic and pepper to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent and just tender
  • Add the spices and oregan to the pan and stir together for 2 – 3 minutes
  • Add the tomato paste to the skillet, stir them into the sautéed onions, and continue to cook for 5 – 7 minutes
  • The mixture should be dark red and clearly heavily laden with spices
  • Add the browned ground beef back to the pan, and stir everything together to mix thoroughly
  • Add the honey, ketchup and the jarred salsa and about 3/4’s cup of water; stir together
  • Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes
  • Uncover and taste the meat.  Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees and add the taco shells per the box directions
  • Serve up the tacos and enjoy!

Wine Recommendation For Ground Beef Tacos: All things being equal, I say you gotta go with a margarita with these tacos.  The sour mix and the bite of the tequila is an absolutely perfect match.  If you want some wine, I’d go with a white, as the tannis in red may clash with the spicy meat.   Try a Sauvigon Blanc that has a good amount of acid and fruit to it, which will both help to cool the spice.

Total Time: 
150minutes
Prep Time: 
30minutes
Cook Time: 
120minutes
Cuisine: 
Main Ingredient: