Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rick’s Tacos with Serrano Coleslaw

Taco/burrito meat filling is one of the first dishes I learned along with Filipino adobo, meatloaf, and beef liver with bacon and onions. There was no real recipe; I made this by eye and taste. It used to include Ortega canned salsa, but they do not make that any more. It was more of a cooking salsa than one using for dipping or as a condiment. The original version of this was ground beef, onions, celery, garlic, Ortega mild green chiles, cumin, chili powder, garlic, paprika, and the Ortega canned salsa. 

Back in 1984 when my Grandma Mac was helping out after my mother’s surgery, I was going to a church function. It was taco and movie night with the youth group. I agreed to make taco meat. A friend, who also went to the same church youth group, came over while I was cooking. He saw me put in celery and went, “Ewww celery,” in disgust. I put in onions and he said, “Ewww, onions.” Grandma Mac overheard this exchange. She asked him what his mom used to make taco meat. He said she used the pre-packaged seasoning packets. Grandma Mac chuckled; she informed him that every ingredient I used was in the packet but in powdered form.



In August 2015, I made them again with a twist. This time I made a vinegar based coleslaw with them. I found a great recipe online. The vinegar based coleslaw was inspired by Portland, Oregon’s Bigg-Ass Sandwiches. One of the first times I went there I had the Pork Hammer with a serrano chile coleslaw. When they opened their brick and mortar location in June of 2015, I discovered their coleslaw again. This time it did not have the chiles. I still liked this. The mayonnaise versions of coleslaw seem too heavy to me anymore. The vinegar based coleslaw is light, bright, and crisp. The vinegar based recipe has less calories of fat than a mayonnaise version which was good for me. In October 2015, I made the tacos again; both times I used ground turkey. I added one half a serrano to a batch. I ended up making two batches. It has some kick but not enough.

On February 9, 2016, I made the tacos with ground turkey and made beef and bean burritos on February 12, 2016. The burritos used ground beef. I forgot to drain the fat. When using beef, brown the meat first and drain the fat. I ended up sautéing the onions, garlic, and celery, then browning the meat. I then added the spices. That was a mistake. For the coleslaw with the tacos I used two serranos and seeded and veined only one. It had a wonderful heat and kick. This is an easy way to make taco/burrito meat.


Rick’s Taco/ Burrito Meat

2 lbs ground beef or turkey
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 stalks celery
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 table spoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ancho powder
½ teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon New Mexican hot chili powder
4 or 6 oz can tomato paste
14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
4 oz can of diced mild green chiles


In a skillet, Dutch oven, or stock pot brown meat. Drain fat if using beef. Add garlic, onions and celery. Simmer till onions are clear. Add dry seasonings. Cook till spices  give off their oils (3-5 minutes). Add tomato paste, chiles and tomatoes. Simmer on low heat till all excess liquid evaporates (15-30 minutes). 


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