Saturday, November 24, 2012

Taco Loaf

This recipe did not come out exactly the way I'd hoped it would.  It was supposed to be a lovely baked pastry roll, not a loaf.  But, while I live and learn from my mistakes, this loaf tastes pretty amazing, I have to say.  I was inspired to try this recipe based on a tv commercial using crescent roll pastry dough.  My mistake was that I overfilled it before rolling the dough.  Note to self:  don't be greedy, don't overfill before rolling the dough.  Check.

Mistakes aside, this was great as a snack.  Slice as thick or thinly as you please, just be ready for a Mexican flavor rush, and enjoy it hot or cold.  Here's the starting line up:

 1 small onion, finely chopped;  2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated; 2 serrano chilis, finely chopped; 1 four ounce can of diced, roasted green chili; 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground; 1 tablespoon coriander; 2 tablespoons paprika; 2 teaspoons oregano, ground or crushed in your palms; salt and pepper, pinch of each; the zest and juice of one lime; 2 packages of your favorite crescent roll pastry dough*; all purpose flour; your favorite grated cheese (I used a store-bough Mexican blend); 1 pound lean ground beef; 1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; a quarter cup of water.   

*You may be able to find crescent or pastry roll sheets that are not pre-cut, at many grocery stores.
*You can always make this recipe meatless, adding roasted peppers.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, center rack. 

In large skillet, add the evoo over medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to ripple, add the onions and a pinch of salt to help the onions sweat and soften.  After three-to-five minutes, add the garlic and saute for another five minutes.  Add the can of green chilis, the spices, the lime zest and juice, and saute another few minutes.  Once the onions are cooked, remove the first part of the filling to a bowl and set aside.  Add the ground beef, brown, and add back the ingredients from the bowl.  Add a pinch more salt and pepper, a quarter cup of water, and let simmer over low heat for about ten minutes, allowing all of the flavors to incorporate.

*In reality, you could start with the oil and beef, then add the onion, garlic and all, especially if you are in a hurry. 

Once the beef has fully cooked and the ingredients have incorporated well, remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

On a cutting board or a granite counter top, add a dusting of all purpose flour.  Place the crescent roll dough on the flour, gently pull apart and roll it out.  Dust lightly with more flour, just a good pinch, and, using a rolling pin, flatten out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.  Not making my mistake, add a dusting of grated cheese (I would use a finely grated blend of jack and cheddar, or thinly grated Mexican cheese blend), followed by a scattered layer of the taco filling.  Sprinkle more cheese over the dough and roll.

Place parchment paper or foil onto a baking pan and place the rolls/loaves, seam down, and bake for 18 - 30 minutes (depending on your oven).  Remove and let the loaves rest.  Slice and serve as you please!