Growing up, one of the first meals I remember making by myself is taco salad. We had it for dinner multiple times a month and it remains to this day one of my favorites to both make and eat. I love the build-it-yourself aspect that allows for everyone to customize their own plate and the ease of throwing it together quickly for dinner. It’s flexible and forgiving and still delicious. It’s easy to double and makes great leftovers – win/win!
For years my “taco seasoning” consisted of heavy-handed amounts of cumin and chili powder and that was about it. No longer! Matthew came across a great recipe and I tweaked it just a smidgen to get it how I like it [like, reeeally like it].
It seems practically blasphemous to say “recipe adapted from Alton Brown’s Taco Potion #19” but to not say it would be lying. For some reason the recipe was wayyyy too salty for me the first time around and I thought the addition of garlic & onion powder would be tasty so that’s where the differences are.
I am a firm believer that recipes should not be altered by the consumer until after once following it though exactly. Who knows what you’ll miss out on trying to immediately do it your way [sometimes nothing, but sometimes a whole, whole lot]? But hey, things happen and sometimes you don’t have ingredients on hand and you’ve got to improvise, I get that [and I do that] so no stress.
On to the recipe!
Homemade taco seasoning
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in an airtight jar. Shake to combine and store for up to a month.
To use: In a skillet over medium heat, sprinkle one to two tablespoons (or so) over one pound of ground meat (beef or turkey work great) that has just begun to sizzle. Stir as you finish cooking through and viola! Tasty taco meat!
Because I more often have ground turkey on hand, I usually use it instead of ground beef thought both are great with this seasoning. Often when working with a lean meat and making taco salad however, I find myself in need of more moisture. I add one 14oz can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes to one to two pounds of seasoned meat and let it simmer 15-20 minutes to meld [taste at this point to be sure you don’t need anymore seasoning because you might and that’s fine to add more]. If I want to make my meal go further I’ll throw in a can or two of rinsed beans – kidney, black, cannellini, pinto, whatever I have on hand. And serve it up over lettuce with tortilla chips, salsa, olives, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, corn, you name it!
I guess the only negative is it isn’t the most attractive food to photograph ; )