Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crunchy Grass-Fed Beef Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce & Homemade Black Beans

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that I love tacos. I fix them weekly, most often in the form of breakfast tacos. Since my boyfriend moved to Texas almost five years ago, I've developed a soft spot for street-style tacos with corn tortillas. I eat those (and variations of them) for breakfast or dinner quite frequently. However, I grew up with a penchant for the crunchy variety. I adored the texture, even though I was noshing on crappy store-bought brands. Ewww. Those are as far from fresh and wholesome as I can imagine. But I know better now. 

Yesterday I had a pound of grassfed ground beef that needed fixin' and I already had tacos in mind. I almost made them street-style, but decided to peruse the world wide web instead. So happy I did. Because of this, I stumbled upon Hilah Johnson's lovely youtube video (she has an awesome, brightly colored website, too) centered around crispy beef tacos. Lo and behold, I'd discovered an easy way to recreate a healthier version of a favorite childhood dish. To say I was enthusiastic would be an understatement. Trusting in Hilah's awesomeness, I even went so far as to leave out my homemade taco seasoning and instead opted for an adapted version of her seasonings. 

The tacos were fantastic. I couldn't get enough of the crunchy shells and my boyfriend exclaimed "when are you going to open a restaurant!?" I scoffed in his face kindly told him I had no such plans, to which he replied "you should at least open a taco place. People would pay good money for these tacos." It wasn't the first time he's urged me to pursue my taco making skills. However, this time he seemed extra excited. I momentarily considered how fun it would be to run a food truck, then brushed it aside. Maybe if we end up moving to Washington State in the next few years...

Crunchy Grassfed Beef Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce & Homemade Black Beans
Crunchy beef tacos with homemade organic corn tortilla taco shells, grassfed ground beef, avocado cream sauce, fire roasted salsa, cilantro, lime juice and homemade black beans. 
Slightly adapted from Hilah Johnson's "How To Make Tacos!!! - Crispy Beef Taco Recipe
+ Beth M's "how to: kick the can (of beans)"
Serves: 2-3


For the Tacos:
8 crunchy organic corn tortilla taco shells (See HilahCooking's short video for how to homemade shells + tacos)
2 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil (get my favorite brand)
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
1 lb of grass-fed 90-95% lean ground beef
1 8 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
Sea salt, to taste (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
8-10 slices of jarred jalapenos, diced (optional)
1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of organic cilantro leaves, chopped
Fresh lime juice
Avocado cream sauce (see recipe below)
Fire roasted salsa (optional)
1 cup of Homemade Black Beans (get my recipe here

For the Avocado Cream Sauce:
1 medium ripe avocado
2-3 tablespoons of full fat sour cream
Sea salt, to taste (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Granulated garlic, to taste
Lime juice (optional)

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet

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If you're making homemade taco shells instead of store-bought (they're WAY tastier & more fresh), first watch Hilah's video (shown above), then make the taco shells BEFORE the filling. This way the shells have plenty of time to sit and crisp up. 

Heat a large skillet to medium. Add the coconut oil and while that melts, dice the onion, then add that and cook 5-7 minutes. Add the ground beef and break up into smaller pieces as it cooks for a few minutes. Mix in the tomato sauce and spices. Let the mixture cook on medium or medium low for about 10 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, mince the garlic, dice the jalapeno slices and chop the cilantro leaves. Make the avocado cream sauce by mashing the avocado with the sour cream (or use a blender if you'd like), then season to taste with sea salt, granulated garlic and lime juice. After the 10 minutes, add the garlic and jalapeno to the beef and cook for another 5-10 minutes. When the meat's cooked through, set it aside and cover with a lid to keep the mixture warm. 

From here it's just about assembling the tacos and reheating the beans (if you haven't made them the same day). I layer beef, cheese, salsa, lime juice, avocado sauce and cilantro into each taco (in that order). Reheat and portion 1/2 the beans on each plate. I normally season mine with sea salt and granulated garlic, but you can eat them however you like. 

Notes & Tips
I followed Hilah's advice and kept the shells in the oven for a bit after I'd turned if off to help them crisp up more. After the 10-15 minutes I'd left them in there, I found that they hadn't firmed up that much more. However, after another 10-15 minutes sitting out on my counter, they had. So...make sure to do your shells FIRST, that way they have enough time to sit out and harden.

Real Food Resources

Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms

"This e-book is perfect for busy folks who need help maximizing their time in the kitchen so they can fix nutritious, real food snacks and meals to eat at home and on the go. In addition to realistic advice, this book provides recipes for real food staples you can make in bulk ahead of time, which ensures you always have nutrient dense foods at hand. And it’s especially helpful if you’re interested in implementing homemade fermented foods into your diet."

From Scratch: Easy Recipes for Traditionally Prepared Whole-Food Dishes 

"If you're looking for a cookbook that is as entertaining as it is delicious, then look no further. From Scratch is a breath of fresh air when it comes to learning how to traditionally prepare and cook nutritious food. Shaye does not disappoint in her recipes and this cookbook reads like a letter from a close friend. These meals are easily prepared and yes, easily devoured."  

Question for DiscussionWhat are your favorite toppings for tacos? 

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