Even though we still occasionally eat cheese, with the help of those lactase pills, I don’t use it as much anymore, looking for ways to eat the kinds of things we like without it. I had some venison chorizo in the freezer from the day I made that frittata, and these tacos seemed like a good follow-up use for it.
I’m going to cooked the diced potatoes in a cast iron skillet without boiling them first. Kind of like how I cook raw fried potatoes, only those are sliced. I want both the chorizo and the potatoes to have some crispiness, although I will mash a little of the potatoes into the meat to get those chorizo spices into the potatoes, too. I still have some roasted poblano peppers in the freezer from last summer’s garden, so a few of those will go in as well. In place of crema to cool it down, I’m using some ready-made guacamole and mild salsa.
I’m still thinking whether to use white corn tortillas (my preference) or flour tortillas; I have both, so I guess it will be a mealtime decision, or it will be a to each his own meal.
Tonight, we both had white corn tortillas; tomorrow, whole wheat flour tortillas (because, of course, I made too much).
Mexican Venison Chorizo and Potato Tacos
- 1 lb venison-pork chorizo (recipe) or any Mexican chorizo
- 2 roasted poblano peppers, diced
- 1 lb potatoes, diced (I used red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled)
- 1 medium to large yellow or white onion, chopped
- oil and butter, as needed
- salt & pepper to taste
- taco-sized tortillas, corn or flour
- toppings: avocado or guacamole, salsa, crema, lettuce or fresh cilantro
- In a large cast iron skillet, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, depending on the fat content of your chorizo. Mine is very lean. When the pan and oil are hot, brown the chorizo, breaking it up with a fork or wooden spoon. Stir in chopped poblanos and let cook until the meat is browned well and any moisture is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove chorizo to a platter.
- Lower the heat to medium and add another two tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of butter until the butter is melted. Add diced potatoes and onions to the pan, spreading out to a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove lid and turn potatoes over to brown other side. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are done and lightly browned.
- Return chorizo to pan and stir in, scraping up any browned bits of potato and meat, mashing some of the potato with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Serve in tortillas with your favorite toppings.
I suppose you know how to fry your own french fries, but maybe you don’t do it because you don’t have a deep fryer. Frying in any old pot or saucepan can be difficult, because it’s hard to maintain the correct heat, even if you have a thermometer clamped to the side. It’s easier to just buy them frozen and cook them in the oven. Some frozen brands come out pretty nice. I have to admit that I rarely make fries, but I had a gallon of oil from the egg rolls I made recently, and it had not been adversely affected by that meal, since none of the egg rolls leaked their centers into the oil. Sometimes, like when frying fish or onion rings, oil takes on that flavor, so I only use it once.
Homemade fries are like the ones you get at the fair with soft interiors and some crispness, but not really a crunchy exterior, and that’s after frying them twice. Thinner ones will be crispier. My husband loves the softer kind of fry over the crunchy ones. At the fair, I like them with salt and vinegar, but last night we had a cheese/green chile dip.
Cut and keep in cold water
Dry well before frying
Drain after first short fry
Done and salted
Just French Fries
- Wash potatoes, peeling if desired.
- Cut in 1/4″ strips or smaller if you want more of a shoestring fry. Place in cold water, unless you are ready to fry immediately. Potatoes will keep in cold water in the refrigerator for several hours.
- Preheat oil in fryer to 325° for first frying.
- Thoroughly dry potatoes before frying. I like to use a thick dishtowel for this.
- Fry in batches for about 5-6 minutes and drain on rack over paper towels until all have gone through the first frying. They will just look like a cooked potato at this stage.
- Increase heat to 375° for second frying.
- Fry second batches until browned and crisp, anywhere between 5-10 minutes.
- *If you’re making shoestrings, they will cook more quickly, and you’ll just have to watch them.
I’m pretty sure you never saw this recipe before. My mother made “Hamburger Stew” all the time and said that her grandmother, who lived with them, made it, although she also said that her grandmother wouldn’t allow her to be in the kitchen to learn from her. Regardless, she did learn this recipe. It strikes me as the kind of recipe that would come out of the Depression they lived through. It’s a very basic meat and potatoes dish, and although I could think of ways to update it, I’d just rather have it always taste the way it always tasted.
What makes this dish different from any similarly-named dish you’ll find on the web, is that the hamburger is in the form of hamburger patties, and they sit at the bottom of the stew vegetables that are layered according to which ones need the most cooking. Kind of an odd arrangement, but it does portion out the meat, as well as give the sense of more substantial pieces of meat than just browned ground beef.
The ingredients couldn’t be simpler—ground beef, onions, carrots, potatoes. Maybe bacon. Apparently my great grandmother often cooked bacon in the pan first, as she apparently also did with tomato sauce, but I don’t think my mother did that, or if she did, it was seldom. It was just a step she told me about. I usually don’t use the bacon, either, but I think I will cook two pieces today before browning the burgers.
Browned burgers and onions
Optional: 2-3 slices bacon, browned
1 lb ground beef, shaped into four patties, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
salt & pepper to taste—season each layer of the dish
2 cups water
4 tablespoons flour for thickening, mixed with a small amount of water
- If using bacon, brown the bacon in a dutch oven and remove. I guess you could crumble the bacon into the finished dish, but I’m just using the bacon fat in this step.
- Brown the hamburger patties in the bacon fat over medium-high heat. This is the only flavoring for the gravy, so browning is important.
- Sprinkle the sliced onions over the burgers.
- Add all the carrots in a layer over the onions. Season. The carrots take longer to cook than the potatoes, so they need to be closer to the bottom of the paan.
- Add the sliced potatoes in an even layer over the carrots. Season.
- JUST ADD WATER. Hard to believe, but that’s all that is ever added to this dish, 2 cups water. An obvious addition would be beef stock or bouillon, but it always tasted fine to me.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and simmer for about a half hour, checking sooner to see if the carrots are done.
- Remove the vegetables to a bowl with a large slotted spoon and the burgers to a plate or on top of the vegetables. Thicken the liquid in the pot with a flour/water mixture and pour over the vegetables.
My mother had an aluminum shaker in which she always mixed flour and water. I don’t ever remember her using cornstarch. That shaker always worked well, leaving no lumps. This Ovaltine shaker on Etsy looks very much like the one we had, but ours had no brand name on it:
I never heard the term home fries until I grew up and encountered them in a restaurant, and I never encountered anything like them at home in the usual chunk style that you know. The only fried potatoes we had were called raw-fried and they were made with sliced potatoes. It never occurred to me that they were really a version of home fries until recently.
I was just wandering around the web the other day to see if anyone does anything different with home fries and ran across two sites that describe my mother’s raw-fried potatoes exactly:
Teri’s Kitchen actually calls them raw-fried potatoes and connects them to a Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) concept.
Simply Recipes offers the sliced version as one of two ways to make home fries, with great images of how they look in the pan.
Give the sliced version a try, and remember to not move them until they are deeply browned on the bottom. If you are lucky, you will be able to flip them in one piece, but it doesn’t really matter. Sliding the whole piece onto a serving plate is a nice presentation, though.
I mostly make home fries now with chunks of potato instead of slices, but they still start out raw and are cooked the same way as the sliced, usually with the skins on.
Okay, I talked myself into it:
raw potatoes in oil and butter
covered for 10 minutes