Cutting corners but not flavours
Try these quick chilli beef tacos when you need a tasty midweek meal but lack time.
- SERVES: 4
- PREP TIME: 5 mins
- COOK TIME: 25 mins
- DIFFICULTY: easy
- IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, family, sharing dinner party, crowd-pleaser
Quick chilli beef tacos
As much as we’d all like to cook up a storm every night.
To give our tastebuds what they deserve.
It’s not always possible.
So, this week I tried this quick beef chilli tacos recipe.
And found it was the perfect dish after a very long and exhausting day at work.
However, I do love Mexican food.
And this is not close to some of the incredible flavours and textures you find in Mexican food.
So, if you’re looking for more authentic Mexican dishes, check out my tried ‘n tested recipes, here.
But for this Tex-Mex version, check out some tips.
And find out what is the difference between Tex-Mex and actual Mexican tacos.
Quick n’ easy
Here are the basics of this midweek easy meal:
The best meat to use has some fat in it as fat gives flavour.
So not too lean if you want something tasty.
btw, if you have a veggie in the house, then switch out beef for refried beans.
Use a tin of chopped tomatoes – nice and simple.
You may need to reduce it by cooking it for a little longer or just use half a tin and then use the other half to make a salsa-type topping.
I tried some small corn tortillas I bought months ago from a Mexican food shop.
But you can find corn tortillas in any supermarket.
Or if you want crispy taco shells then you can also find them in the Mexican section of a supermarket.
Obviously, you can buy ready-made seasoning.
But it’s so simple to make at home and much easier to tweak if you want it hotter, earthier etc
Don’t overload your tacos (but of course, you can if you want!).
But toppings that are simple include, lettuce, grated cheese, and sour cream.
Tex-Mex tacos vs. Mexican tacos
In simple terms, Tex-Mex is the Americanised version.
Tex-Mex become more widely used in the 1970s when it was used in cookbooks like The Cuisines of Mexico.
Which helped explain the difference between food found North of the Border and the real thing.
Tex-Mex ingredients usually include beef, yellow cheese (like cheddar), wheat flour, black beans, canned vegetables (especially tomatoes), and cumin.
And it is pretty quick to put together.
Whereas Mexican food prep is similar to French – they involve a lot of ingredients and time.
But here are some Tex-Mex favourites that you may have thought were Mexican.
Fajitas isn’t completely American as the name comes from the Spanish word “faja” – meaning “strip” (referring to the cut of beef they use).
Chili con carne
A tomatoey stew of ground or cubed beef, beans, spices, and chilli peppers.
Who doesn’t love a bowl of nachos during a spontaneous pub session?!
Technically, nachos were first created by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in Mexico.
But he served them up with some tweaks to a group of soldiers’ wives from nearby Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass.
And Tex-Mex nachos were born.
Mexican beef tacos
Mexican food is all about fresh ingredients, bold flavour and simple spices.
Here are just a handful of authentic Mexican tacos:
Tacos de barbacoa
Found all over Mexico. The meat is usually lamb but sometimes beef or goat.
And is wrapped in banana or agave leaves and slow-cooked over an open flame or in an underground oven lined with hot coals.
Giving you tender shredded beef that melts in your mouth.
Tacos de cabeza
Cabeza means “head” in Spanish and this is made with the meat from the head of a cow and typically served braised or steamed.
Tacos de carne asada
Carne asada = grilled meat
Carne asada tacos are the first tacos in history – 1500s, made with thin slices of meat (skirt, flank) cooked over hot coals.
The meat was placed in a corn tortilla and topped with guacamole, onions, chilli peppers, and lime.
Tacos de carnitas
Usually made from pork shoulder slowly simmered in its own fat, confit-style, until the meat is tender enough to pull apart.
Quick chilli beef tacos
- 500 g minced beef (80 / 20 lean)
- 200 g tinned tomato (half a tin)
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 8 corn tortillas or crispy corn tacos
- In a large frying pan, over medium heat, add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through.
- Turn down to low heat and add the tinned tomato and seasoning ingredients. Then simmer for 5 mins.
- If you have corn tortillas (like I used), follow the packet instructions to fry quickly in a pan.Otherwise, take your tortillas or crispy corn tacos and warm them in the oven.
- Toppings: you don't need to overload with toppings so cut up some lettuce, peppers and tomatoes, and pop them on a plate with some sour cream.To serve: Place the chilli beef on the serving palte and let your family or friends build their own taco.