I wanted to take a different approach to the food on the site this month. Not only do I want to feature recipes that include beer in them but also I want to pair food with beer. This month, I’m pairing with Featured Category 21, IPAs. They go with pretty much all my favorite foods! In addition, I want to make sure that you are able to make this stuff and you want to eat it. And if you don’t want to eat a taco, well, we can’t be friends.
The first recipe I’m bringing you this month is my Any Night Tacos. Are they authentic? Not really. Are they freakin’ delicious? Absolutely! I’m a Polish lady making tacos – I really hope you weren’t expecting truly authentic. This is my take on Tex-Mex flavors that I love! Also, please note that I have recently purchased quite a few chili powders because it’s a new thing with me so don’t feel obligated to run out and buy them all. If you just have one kind of chili powder then just use that. However, I recommend that you expand your chili powder experience post-haste. The ancho powder especially adds a depth of flavor and smokiness without blasting you with heat.
These are easy to make and I make them a lot. Leftovers are great for nachos the next night, a taco salad or quesadillas! They’re pleasantly spicy without igniting an inferno in your mouth and you can, again, customize this recipe to your specific tastes. I used turkey as my protein but feel free to use whatever you like. The same spice base can be used with veggie crumbles or seitan for my vegetarian or vegan buddies. Upton Ground Seitan is a fantastic substitute option for non-meat eaters. However, you can also chop a couple packages of baby portabella and button mushrooms as a meat substitute. I used to do that when I was a vegetarian. Oh, you didn’t know?!
I paired this particular round of Any Night Tacos with our first Shelf Staple for August, Modus Hoperandi. At first, it slightly intensifies the spiciness of the food and then suddenly the hoppiness confuses your mouth. You focus instead on the bitterness of the hops, the malty sweetness kills most of the fire, and then you get a nice backburn coming through as the beer hits the back of your throat. This isn’t a citrus forward IPA but it works really nicely with all the flavors in the dish, especially the smokiness. A wonderful pairing, indeed.
A few other IPA options for this dish that would be just as lovely are Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, Half Acre Vallejo, and I’m going to throw Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin out there, even though it’s a little different than the rest. I think the pointed citrus is really nice with the spice of the dish and the bitterness cuts through the richness of the avocado and cheese as well.
ANY NIGHT TACOS
1lb ground meat, I used turkey, but you can use beef, chicken or whatever
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped leave the seeds in if you want. I took ½ out.
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ sweet bell pepper, whatever color you like, chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 dashes cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon vegetable base or 1 small veggie bouillon cube, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
½ cup of your favorite jarred salsa
½ cup water
Soft tortillas. I used flour fajita tortillas because they looked better that day. Use what you love, even hard shell!
Warm refried beans
Cheese, I used shredded extra sharp cheddar and chipotle cheddar (Kraft). It’s really good and not super spicy. Less spicy than pepper jack.
Avocado with lime, salt and pepper
I forgot to get this but I like to have some shredded iceberg, too. You can also use a more traditional topping like cotija cheese, cilantro and chopped onions.
Prepare the filling
Use a large skillet and preheat on medium high heat. Add oil to pan. Add meat and brown.
Continue cooking until almost all meat is cooked through and then add the onions. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add jalapeno and bell pepper. Cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir and let cook.
Juices will come out from the veggies and meat with the addition of the salt. Let cook out for 3-5 minutes so there is not a lot of moisture in the pan. Add all additional spices and stir to combine. Let the spices cook with the other ingredients for another 5 minutes. Everything will darken slightly and become very fragrant. Scrape off any fond (that’s the delicious brown caramelized stuff) at the bottom and sides of pan.
Add the jarred salsa and the water. Stir and let it all come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
Char the soft tortillas on the stove top or heat in the microwave.
Assemble your toppings, put it all together and eat! Don’t forget to pour yourself a beer, too.