Tacos, or, officially, Hoparound's Hamburger Tacos

When I was in undergrad, my best friend Rachel and I used to joke about ingredients for really obvious recipes: 'Would you like a gin and tonic?' we'd ask each other. 'I have all the ingredients,' we'd add slyly, and then we'd both crack up while one of us stirred the bacon we were cooking (we ate a lot of bacon in college), and the other one poured more gin. I feel similarly about this taco recipe: if you've ever made tacos, these are the tacos you've made. It's a self-explanatory recipe that doesn't really merit an explanation, but despite the dearth of Mexican restaurants here in Edinburgh, I always kind of assumed that everyone in this city was doing like Judson and I do and making their own tacos. Then I realised that no one else here eats tex-mex as frequently as we do, and that tacos are less commonplace the farther you get from... well, the equator.

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 There's only one store in all of edinburgh that sells la preferida. I never realised how important it would be to me until after we moved here.

There's only one store in all of edinburgh that sells la preferida. I never realised how important it would be to me until after we moved here.

This is food for the kind of people who like to eat but don't like to cook-- the kind of thing that I ate for dinner at least two nights a week before I got married and suddenly was able to try new recipes for someone besides just myself. (Someone, I might add, who was not content to eat tex-mex for 1/3 of his dinners each week.) But seriously: it's not a hard recipe, this one, and it's cheap. You can buy all the ingredients for these tacos for less than a tenner AND eat leftovers for at least three meals (which you won't mind, because they're delicious.)

So anyway, this one goes out to the Scottish readers, who, I've realised in the last few months, are not as familiar with Mexican food as we Americans are. Because, let's be real, this is not really a recipe at all. It's just an ad with suggestions on how to make tacos on the back of a recipe for quiche. But, rules are rules, and since I now live in a country where I've had to explain sangria, margaritas, and queso dip to different people in the last month, I figured it was about time I posted a recipe about this.

Happy Cinco de Mayo to those of you who are celebrating! And to everyone else, make these and a tall glass of sangria and you'll be well on your way to celebrating soon.

Happy Tuesday!

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. Tacos are my favourite food. Seriously. When I was eight years old, my mom sat me down and explained to me that I could have whatever food I wanted for my birthday, even if that meant tacos instead of pizza, like all my friends had. 21 birthdays later and I've never looked back, and still have never had a bad taco. These are foolproof, delicious, and they pair perfectly with warm weather and cold wine. What more could you want out of dinner?

THE RECIPE:

Easiest Tacos

the ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (or 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts)
3 tbsp Taco seasoning
2 c refried beans (or black beans)
1 pkg hard taco shells (or soft)

Toppings:

Shredded lettuce
Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Taco sauce
Salsa
Tabasco sauce
Grated cheese
Sour cream
Sauteed onions and peppers
Fresh jalapeƱos
Pickled jalapeƱos
Fresh lime wedges to squeeze over your taco

THE DIRECTIONS:

Saute ground beef with taco seasoning until cooked through.
Drain beef well, but do not rinse.
Warm beans in the microwave or in a pan over low heat.
Fill taco shell with beans first (they act like glue!), then meat and whichever toppings you prefer.
Eat with great gusto.

Note: these are easily made vegetarian or vegan with the omission of the meat (I prefer mine meatless) and/or sour cream and cheese (I don't prefer mine dairy-less). If you're making them vegan, be sure to check your beans to make sure they don't have meat stock in them!