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Family Recipe Box: Mother's Tacos


Cartmann99

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When I tell people that Mother learned to make tacos in Germany, they look at me a bit funny. The story is that my Father got drafted a few months after they were married and the Army sent him to Germany. Mother went with him, and while they were there, they became friends with some of the other soldiers and their wives. One of the soldiers they were friends had married a woman whose family was from Mexico, and she taught Mother how to make tacos the way her family did. When my parents returned to the States after my Father finished his time in the Army, Mother started making tacos for family and friends whenever there was a gathering.

I apologize in advance for the quality of my photographs. I don't have good lighting in my kitchen, it's another thing on the never ending list of home improvement projects we plan to do.

Okay, for this recipe you need:

Ground beef  (1lb will make approximately 12-15 tacos)

White corn tortillas (Get more than you need so you can make chips!)

Canola oil

Electric skillet

Salt and pepper

Spatula

Whatever toppings you like on your tacos

You could do these on your stove top in your favorite frying pan, but a large electric skillet is the best way to go if you are cooking for a crowd.

Pour about a 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) of oil into the electric skillet, and set it on 400F (200C). Get out two plates, a big bowl for the hamburger, the biggest baking sheet you have, and put your oven on its lowest temperature or the "keep warm" setting if you have it.  (Depending on how many tacos you plan to make, you may need to remove one of your oven racks and place the other one on the lowest level.)

Put the tortillas on one plate (reserve some for chips), the hamburger in the bowl, mix a little salt and pepper into the meat with your clean hands, and flatten out a small amount of meat on one half of the top side of a tortilla and put it on the empty plate. Keep stacking up tacos until you use up all of the meat.

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If you plan to make chips, cut or tear each tortilla into four pieces and set aside. You can make the chips first if you want, but if you are not home alone, people will come in and start eating them and you won't get any. 

 

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Test the oil by tearing off a small piece of tortilla and placing it in the oil. It should bubble and immediately start frying if the oil is hot enough. If the oil is ready, pick the taco up in your non-dominant hand and and gently slide it into the oil. Leave the taco flat for about 15 seconds while you use the spatula in your dominant hand to gently flick the oil away from you and onto the meat. Place the spatula under the side of the taco without meat and gently fold it over away from you as you don't want to slosh hot oil on yourself. ( I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the process of folding them over.) Once your tacos are all folded over, it will look like this:

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Continue to gently flick the hot oil onto the tacos until the shells start feeling hard when you poke them with the spatula, and then gently turn them over onto the other side and flick oil on that side. Continue frying them until the meat at the edge is a dark reddish brown. If you're unsure if they are done, pull one out and cut it open to make sure the middle is not pink.

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As each batch of tacos gets done, scoop them out of the oil with your spatula and place on the baking sheet and put them in the oven to keep warm. 

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They are not very pretty, and that dark one in the middle got left in a little too long. I think I had to settle a kitty dispute or something that night.

I forgot to get pictures of the chips, sorry. After the tacos are done, gently put the cut tortillas into the oil in batches like you did the tacos. Fry on each side until crisp, remove from the oil, salt them as desired, let cool and drain until they won't burn your mouth, and serve with the tacos and some salsa or guacamole.

A big pot of pinto beans, cornbread, enchiladas, etc...goes nicely with tacos and chips, or just have them by themselves. They may break apart when you try to open them up to add your toppings which can make things messy. You can always turn them on their side, apply your toppings, and pretend it's a tostada if that works for you. No worries.  If you have any leftover tacos, reheat them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400F (200C) or until you hear them sizzling. Top as desired.

Since they don't have as much meat as some other tacos, you maybe wondering how many to make for your household. If it's just tacos and chips, I usually eat five or six tacos, my husband eats six to eight, and the last time I made them for my relatives, one of the really big men ate fourteen. 

 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

Posted

Those look really delicious! I also liked your explanation of how your mom learned to make tacos in Germany. :my_smile:

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Grimalkin

Posted

Yay!!!! I love cherished family recipes!!!! Thank you for posting.

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