Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe: Portabella, Pepper and Onion Tacos + Avocado Crema

Warning: These are so not the tacos you see on the front of the yellow and red Old El Paso box. They won’t stand up while you stuff them (ahem, unnatural). You won’t find beef juice leaking down your wrists as you take a bite (mmmm!). And there is certainly no Doritos shell involved (which no, I have not tried, but I happen to be quite terrified of Taco Bell).

What you WILL get: a filling of meaty portabella mushrooms, and sweet peppers and onions all wrapped up in a warm, slightly charred corn tortilla. Finished off with an array of fresh toppings, it’s just messy enough that it’ll leave you wondering how you got avocado crema in your hair. For reals.

Sure, these babies are a little messy. But I promise you’ll be scraping every straggling bit off your plate. If you want to be all presentable and snooty and such, go nibble a quiche.

PS. A special thank you to my always-hungry guinea pigs, JM, Angie, Eric and Sam. The silence that fell while you ate these tacos was heart-warming.

PPS. Also thanks to Alex from Against The Grain for her spectacular advice on charring tortillas without burning the house 17-story apartment building down.

-Leftovers make for fantastic quesadillas the next day!

[Original recipe from Rachael Ray]
Ingredients (serves 4-5)
Taco Filling
Olive Oil
4 portabella mushroom caps, stems removed, gills scraped, and sliced
2 red bell peppers, ribs removed, and sliced lengthwise
1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced from root to tip
½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded, ribs removed, and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Avocado Crema
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt
Juice of 1-2 limes
¼ tsp salt

Tortillas + Toppings
About 15 corn tortillas
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped cilantro or flat-leaf Italian parsley
Shredded Monterey Jack or Manchego cheese

Taco Filling
-Place a large, heavy bottom skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
-Once hot, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
-Add pepper and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
-Add thyme, jalapeno, and garlic. Cook for 5 more minutes. Stir occasionally.
-Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or keep over very low heat until ready to serve.

Avocado Crema
-Scoop avocado (pit removed) into the bowl of a food processor. Add yogurt, juice of one lime, and salt.
-Pulse until completely smooth.
-Check for consistency, then add additional lime juice as needed. If you still want it thinner after 2 limes are used, add a little bit of water.
-Refrigerate until ready to serve.

-Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
-Set gas burner(s) to medium-low heat. Using tongs, set one tortilla directly on the burner.
-Cook for about 1 minute, checking frequently, until pliable and charred.
-Flip with tongs, and cook other side for an additional minute or so.
-After you finish about 6 tortillas, wrap the stack in foil and put it in the oven until ready to serve.
-Repeat with remaining tortillas.  

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