Tacos are hot corn tortillas that have been crisp-fried and folded into a shell. The shell is then stuffed with meat, guacamole or even seafood. This recipe won’t be including the seafood option, but if you’re curious there are many delicious seafood taco recipes, but they aren’t traditional for Northern New Mexico.

Tacos are then garnished with grated cheese, lettuce, tomato chunks, chopped onions and even a dollop of salsa and sour cream.

With Tacos de Carne, the meat may be flavored with special seasonings or it may be well-cooked ground meat, or even shredded. Pork, beef, chicken are the standard meats employed. Tacos de Guacamole is stuffed with the same chunky mixture used for salads, then with shredded lettuce and topped with chile verde.

Ready-made taco shells are available in almost any store. All you have to do is heat them up a little, fill them as desired. If you want to take you tacos up a notch, make the shells yourself.

Taco Shells

Fry corn tortillas one at a time in a heavy skillet with ½ inch hot oil or lard, if you want to be really traditional. As the tortilla softens, gently lift one edge with kitchen tongs and start to fold it in half. Don’t make too sharp a fold or you’ll have trouble putting your fillings inside.

Fry until crisp then turn and cook the other side. keep the shells warm in the oven as the fry them all and cover them with foil to keep them from drying out.

Tacos de Carne

1 ½ pounds ground beef, pork or boned, cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste
1-3 Tablespoons ground chile
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of ground cumin
¼ cup water or broth

Brown the pork or beef in a skillet. Drain off the extra grease and add the seasonings. If you are making chicken tacos, there is no need to sauté the meat, but lightly heat it in the skillet. Add the water and let it gently simmer until most of the liquid has been cooked away, then it’s ready to be stuffed in the shells, topped with a little cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato chunks or whatever you’d like to have in the taco.

Makes 12 tacos or serves 6

Tacos de Guacamole

For one dozen tacos, use one-half recipe of Guacamole to stuff the taco shells. Top each with shredded cheese, lettuce and a little Pico de Gallo or Table Salsa.

Makes 12 tacos or serves 6