Whenever you sit down at a restaurant, you might notice that the menu includes both “tacos” and “street tacos.” What’s the difference between these two items? As a format, the taco comes in many forms in restaurants and kitchens around the world. This Mexican culinary contribution can be endlessly adapted and innovated, but when you want to taste the tried-and-true preparation that has been the go-to taco for generations in both Mexico and Texas, it’s the “street taco” that you’re looking for. This is the sort of taco available at stands and taco trucks, typically featuring a corn tortilla shell (or two) and with simple yet savory ingredients like diced onion and cilantro. Try a couple of easy, tasty versions in your own kitchen.
The specific spices, garnishes, and ingredients you choose for each taco recipe often vary by what filling you want. Beef is a popular taco filling, and while ground beef isn’t the most common ingredient for street tacos, it still makes for a
delicious dish if you don’t have any steak cuts in the fridge. It also makes prepping your tacos quick and easy. The key is in the spices, so season your ground beef with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and lime juice.
To bring the heat as well as that unmistakable chile flavor, you’ll also need a few chipotle peppers, and you can just open a can of chipotle chiles in adobo to save time. Start by browning the meat, then add the seasonings to coat the meat thoroughly. Once you load the cooked and seasoned beef into your tortilla shells, sprinkle on freshly chopped onion, cilantro, and some crumbling cheese like cotija.
Chorizo is a
spiced pork sausage that, like beef, entered Mexican cuisine through Spanish influence. However, the chorizo in Mexico is notably distinct from its European counterpart. Whereas Spanish chorizo is typically served as cured, dry sausage links, Mexican chorizo is generally raw and uncured, meant to be cooked just prior to serving. Spanish chorizo derives its flavor and color from spices like pimentón, or paprika, while the Mexican variety draws its taste and vibrant coloration from dried chiles.
This Mexican variation will be the pork of choice for street tacos with chorizo, and because the sausage comes pre-seasoned, you won’t need to spice it up much once it’s browning in the pan. Of course, you can aways mix in some chipotle chiles in adobo for that classic smoky flavor. Once the chorizo is thoroughly cooked, it can go in corn shells wit the essential onion and cilantro.
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