You are hungry and have but one peso in your pocket? Eat a taco de nada. A deep hangover ails you? Go for tacos de barbacoa with salsa borracha. Did you say a broken heart? A pair of fully stocked tacos al pastor will be your most effective rebound. It’s lunchtime and you are on the road? If you are in Mexico (or somewhere with a large Mexican community), you will find someone with a huge basket selling tacos sudados to go.
There is no need or mood a taco can’t tackle. And if you want to feed your family a generous and satiating weeknight meal, make them bricklayer tacos.
- 500 g ripe roma (plum) tomatoes
- 250 g bacon, sliced
- 1 kg beef sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 3cm pieces
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 jalapeño chilli, sliced, seeds removed (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- flour or corn tortillas, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat a grill to high. Place tomatoes on an oven tray and grill for 6-9 minutes or until charred, mushy and juices have begun to run. Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop, but don’t discard the juices.
Heat a large casserole or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes or until crisp. Add the beef (you don’t need to add any other fat), season with salt and pepper, and sear for about 2 minutes per side.
Add the onion and jalapeño, and let them soften for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant, then add the chopped tomatoes. Stir here and there and let it all cook for 5 minutes or until beef is cooked to your liking.
Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a frying pan over medium-low heat – it will take about 1 minute per side. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel.
Serve tortillas along with the beef filling; guests can fill the tortillas with the amount of filling they desire.
Recipe and photographs from Pati’s Mexican Table by Pati Jinich.