One of my favorite memories was going to the county fair was the soft tacos. It was not the rides or the carny games that I was so fond of, it was eating the fair food, especially the tacos and beirocks (recipe coming another time), and Mom getting me one small hand-blown glass animal. They were on top of rods, most likely meant for drinks. I still have them.
The tacos were a softened corn tortilla wrapped around the mild filling. They were then wrapped in thin paper to keep the filling contained, and you would eat the “escaped” filling at the bottom of the paper when you were done with the taco. You could spoon a little smooth salsa on top while eating them, too. Of course, you can add the salsa when making these at home. It will change the flavor, though.
I made my corn tortillas by hand. You can do so too, using the recipe on the bag of masa or buy your favorite tortillas. Do note, if the tortillas had been frozen, I found they usually break when rolling up the tortillas after softening them in the fat. I do not know why they do that. I use organic non-hydrogenated lard for softening, preferring the flavor and nutrients. You can use your favorite oil if wished.
You will also notice there is lettuce in them, cooked. I know this is very different to most people. Trust me, without it, they do not taste right. I found the last decent bunch of leaf lettuce at my store when I was shopping. When I get a hankering for something, well… I will find the ingredients, even traveling 30+ miles down to the bigger towns to shop at another grocery store. There is no cheese in these tacos. Yes, these will seem to be bland to most people, being used to highly seasoned Mexican foods. Though I love spicy foods, I find these to be absolutely delicious as-is. As is my norm, I use all organic/gmo-free ingredients. Use what you wish.
State or County Fair-style Tacos
1 (4″ or longer) potato
1/4 head of lettuce (about 1-1/2 cups to 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
6 green onions (1 bunch)
1 lb ground round
1 cup water, filtered please
1 (2 oz) can green chiles (optional)
(I used a chile for flavor, removing it before putting in the tacos.)
salt & pepper, to taste
12 to 18 corn tortillas
good lard or oil
Boil the potato until soft. Let cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and rice, finely chop or mash so the pieces are no longer than 1/8″; set aside.
Cut down the flat side of the lettuce or remove the center stem of the leaf if using leaf lettuce. Very thinly slice the lettuce. Cut into 1″ long pieces or chop; set aside.
Slice the green onions very thin, including about 3/4″ of the green part. Place in a bowl and break apart rings; set aside. Note: I skipped the ring separation. The tacos came out fine.
Brown the beef in a large skillet, breaking it up to make it as fine as possible. Drain if using a fattier grind of beef.
Add the water, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. If using the green chiles, add them now. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the lettuce; stir and cook about 5 minutes.
Add the potato and cook until the lettuce is very limp, about 15 minutes. You can add more water if needed. The final consistency should be thick. It looks better than the photo and tastes even better. The thickness does not show in the photo. It looks more crumbly, for some reason.
Cook the tortillas in lard 2 seconds or so, until the tortillas are just softened and drain. I put them on a plate and drain the fat back into the pan as I work. You can steam them, but I found they do not roll up as well, tend split open and the flavor is… blech. I get 3 or 4 of the tortillas softened, fill, then repeat the softening process. You can do them all, then fill.
I lay down two or three thicknesses of paper towel on the counter. I take 1 tortilla and lay it on the paper towel, and dab with another paper towel to remove any excess fat that did not drain off. Spoon the meat mixture onto tortilla. Add taco sauce, if you must. Roll the tacos up carefully and as tightly as possible. I put them in a baking dish lined with paper towels as I make them. Eat!
Makes 12 to 18 tacos