Friday, September 13, 2013

Savory Turkey Tacos

Welcome Back to another episode of my blog series on College Food!  While I used some fresh ingredients and some dried spices, this dish can be made with almost all fresh or all dried herbs and spices.  Turkey Tacos is one of those recipes that parents and students can be assured is healthy with much less fat and sodium than store or some restaurant purchased tacos.  The great thing about cooking at home is that YOU are in control of your ingredients, both the dried and the fresh.  You control the measurement of the ingredients, control the sodium (salt) products incorporated in to the recipe, and you control the portions.  With that knowledge, let's get to the recipe and how you can manage it to meet your own needs. 

I used part fresh and part dried ingredients.  I love using fresh ingredients whenever possible, but I realize that most college students - whose palettes are  more sophisticated than college foodies of yesteryear -  are time and patience deprived, therefore I incorporated both dried and fresh ingredients and spices.  Here's my ingredients line-up:

1 pound of ground turkey
1 small or half a large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 Fresno chili, ribbed, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon pasilla pepper powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil  (aka. evoo)
fresh tortillas 

Here's what to do:

Add the evoo to a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the oil and allow the oil to heat.  Be careful, for as the oil begins to heat up, the seeds with begin to pop and the coriander seeds may pop out of the pan.  Add the ground turkey to the skillet, break it up with a wooden spoon, and allow to cararmelize.  After four or five minutes, add all of the dried ingredients.

Cumin and Coriander seeds heating up in the olive oil.  

Incorporate the seasonings and spices thoroughly in with the ground turkey.  Reduce the heat to medium-low after four or five more minutes, and allow the mixture to simmer and thoroughly cook about fifteen minutes further.  Meantime, prepare your tortillas - flour or corn - whatever your preference, although I used flour, to receive the meat. I used a Cheddar-Jack cheese combination, but, in order to reduce calories and fat, use an all-white cheese, such as Oaxaca, Cojita, or Queso Anejo. 

Serve with your favorite taco sauce, pico de gallo, or salsa and enjoy!  The flavors are savory and profound.  Your own kitchen will seem to become your new favorite Mexican restaurant!

If you have absolutely no interest in purchasing your spice set, nor collecting them, you could simply purchase in your spices aisle at the grocery, a packet of taco seasoning. Many grocery stores have a Mexican cheese section, and some of the authentic cheeses are now being sold pre-grated.