There is a rack in the grocery store that is supposed to make life a lot easier. Rows of shiny packets full of spice combos or spice / thickener combos that can turn a few ingredients into a spectacular meal, right? I used to use the taco seasoning mixes to whip up some tacos because everybody loves tacos, but as I started to make more things for myself it struck me that I could probably do this more authentically and without the added ingredients that I probably wouldn’t really want!
You can make your taco base with any number of things: chicken, fish, beans, lentils, or even quinoa! From there it is another opportunity to offer a little variety of toppings that include crispy fresh offerings of the season or form your garden.
I prepare chicken about once a week, and that is the route I took here. I really think you could use this on any of the above. I provide the amount of chicken I used to give you an idea of how to adapt the spices to the amount of whatever you use.
Quick & Easy Tacos
a little oil in the pan (I used avocado because of the high smoke point)
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (well worth the spice investment – really adds great, smoky flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
1.75 lb chicken meat, cut into bite sized pieces (or sub beans, fish or quinoa)
optional tabasco or cayenne
optional oats for thickening (start low, 1/8 cup whole oats)
Toppings of your choice: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, red onion, avocado, cheese of whatever variety your tribe eats, etc.
Taco shells – we used Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot & Blue Taco Shells, which are indeed hot, and indeed blue – so I did not use a lot of heat in the sauce, you can add tobasco or cayenne if you like!
Heat the oil in a large saute pan
Add the cumin seed and let heat a bit
Add the onion until almost translucent
Add the other spices for a couple of minutes
Add your chicken or whatever else you are using
When it is almost cooked through, decide if you want some thickening.
Add oats if you do and stir until thicker
Pile filling into warm taco shells
Put your toppings on…
and crunch into a big, tasty mess ;-)
What is your favorite base for tacos?