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Traditional Taco Filling Recipes?


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Hey all - I have a hankerin' for some tacos. The style I love is similar to those @ Districto Federale: corn tortilla, meat, a little avacado and onion, cilantro and hot sauce.

Where I am getting hung up is on the meat - I've tried a few recipes here and there, but just can't get anywhere near the level of flavor that you find in the taco joints. I think part of it may be my omission of extra lard/fat in some cases, but really I just need some advice. Thanks!

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To get authentic flavor, you need to slow braise a tougher cut, like chuck, tongue or pork shoulder with Mexican aromatics (onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, allspice, bay leaf), or marinate a grillable meat (steak, chicken or pork tenderloin) with a recado.

To make a simple recado: on a sheet pan placed on the upper rack of your oven, roast a roma tomato, a small onion and a few cloves of unpeeled garlic at 425 until the tomato skin has blackened in spots and the onion is soft. Peel the garlic, and put all, including juices, into the blender. Add 1/2 tsp. of salt. 1 t. of ground cumin, juice of half a lime, a T. of cider vinegar, and one or two chipotles from a can (depending on how spicy you want it). Puree. Simmer puree on top of stove for 15 to 20 minutes until it is nice and thick, then allow it to cool.

When cooled, spread the recado on steak, boneless chicken or pork tenderloin. Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.

Don't wipe off the recado--grill the meat either on a charcoal or gas grill, or inside on a grill pan, until done. The recado may make a bit of a mess on the grill, but it is supposed to blacken and char. Chop the meat into small chunks and use as taco filling with choice of toppings.

Or: get some Mexican chorizo, remove it from the casing and fry until thoroughly cooked. Remove with slotted spoon. Use as taco filling.

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Is that a really short marinating time, or have I just been marinating things for too long (overnight)?

Zora, thank you for the explanations-I will be filing this away to use later.

Dan- here's and article from the WaPo entitled "The Myth About Marinades" that contends that marinating for prolonged periods is unnecessary. From the article:

"The most common claim is that by penetrating the meat, marinades create more flavor, tenderize the meat and make it juicier. But is that really what happens? No; the assumption is based on a naive and conflicting understanding of how nature, and therefore cooking, works. The concept of penetration is a key element in marinade mythology."

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