While most US versions of the taco revolve around meat or fajita-style veggie fillings, it’s certainly not the only option. For those of us who have lived in or visited California, Texas or the Southwest, we might know all about a classic filling straight from the street tacos of Mexico: potatoes.
Potato style tacos in Mexico tend to be different than the soft corn tortilla styles which come filled with chopped meat and topped with raw onions and some salsa. The potatoes are mashed, folded into a small corn tortilla (creating a half moon shape) and FRIED. YUM. They closely resemble a taquito, except their clam shape means locals might open them up to stuff them with lettuce, cheese, salsa- all the regular fixings.
Luckily, the first time I encountered these tasty potato treats in Jalisco in 1998, I wasn’t too thrown off. My mom had been making a tasty ground beef and potato combo for years which we used for taco or burrito filling. No frying necessary!
Beef and Potato Tacos
1/2 -1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 clove of garlic, chopped or crushed
3-4 potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold for the recipe!), cubed
1 can of tomato sauce, 8 oz.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions in the olive oil until almost clear. Add ground beef and brown until only a little pink color remains. Add garlic and mix into the meat.
Add potatoes and tomato sauce to meat. Mix fully.
Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
A note about salt: my mom never added salt to this dish because the salt in the canned tomato sauce was plenty. Feel free to add some salt at this point if you feel you need it, adding it earlier may make the meat tough as it cooks.
Warm corn tortillas on the stove top (I used a griddle).
Spoon mixture into your tortillas, serve with your favorite toppings!
(Who am I kidding here- my very favorite toppings are cheese and sour cream!)
* Add some eggs and use the filling to create breakfast tacos!
* Five minutes before you remove from the stove, add some frozen corn. You can serve the filling in a way similar to chili, with some tortilla strips and a dollop of sour cream.