Original tacos were a little different than the U-shaped tortillas invented by entrepreneur Glen Bell of Taco Bell. The real deal begins with a ball of masa flattened into a thin round that's fried to a golden crispness. The masa puffs up a bit, which is how the moniker "puffy taco" came into play. Stuff with ground taco meat, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

Jessica Dupuy
Recipe by Southern Living January 2016

Gallery

Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kay Clark

Recipe Summary

hands-on:
1 hr 5 mins
total:
1 hr 20 mins
Yield:
Makes 8 to 9 servings
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Shape masa into 18 golf ball-size portions (about 2 Tbsp. each). Cut sides off a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Line top and bottom of a tortilla press with freezer bag. Place masa rounds in freezer bag, 1 at a time, and close tortilla press to form tortillas. (If you don't have a tortilla press, use a flat plate, skillet, or flat-bottomed bowl, and press masa balls between sheets of wax paper against countertop into flat rounds. To ensure even thickness, press dough rounds once, rotate 180°, and press again.) Gently stack tortillas between layers of wax paper.

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  • Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°.

  • Gently lower 1 uncooked tortilla into hot oil. Once tortilla rises to surface and begins to bubble, cook 10 seconds. Gently flip tortilla, and lightly press center of tortilla, using a metal spatula, to create a U-shape.Cook 30 seconds or until golden brown. Carefully remove from oil, sprinkle with desired amount of salt, and drain upside down on a paper towel-lined wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Keep warm in a 200° oven.

  • Cook onion and next 2 ingredients in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add beef, and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Reduce heat to medium.

  • Return beef mixture to skillet; add tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and 2 tsp. salt, and cook 4 minutes. Add beer, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Serve mixture in tortillas with desired toppings.

  • *If you can't find fresh masa, you may substitute the following recipe: Whisk together 3 cups masa harina (corn flour), 1 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Whisk in 2 1/4 cups very hot water until dry ingredients are moistened. (Add more hot water if needed, 1 tsp. at a time.) Knead 3 or 4 times to make a smooth dough.

Source

United Tastes of Texas by Jessica Dupuy, copyright 2015, Oxmoor House.