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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Restaurant-Style Ground Beef

I've never been a fan of the over-pungent, preservative-filled, goopy-looking taco-seasoning-packet ground beef. It was always too salty and never tasted anything like any of the Mexcian [American] food (or even TexMex food) that can be had at a Mexican restaurant. And so I set out to recreate the ground beef found at some of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That ground beef was always lightly seasoned and fresh-tasting--a stark contrast to the other stuff. It took a little bit of playing with, but eventually I was able to come up with a recipe that is pretty darn close--if not spot on--to what I can get when I got out to eat.

Since we had tacos for dinner tonight, I thought I would share my ground beef recipe. It's great in tacos, but also pretty fantastic in burritos, quesadillas, nachos... you name it. It takes more time to make than the good-ole browned-beef-and-a-taco-packet variety, and I haven't attempted it in a crock pot, yet (if you have a go at it, let me know how it turns out), so I don't suggest it for a quick dinner night. It needs at least an hour and a half to cook down, so it's best for a night when you have the time. But the following recipe makes enough for the 2.5 of us (Endelyn eats so little of it, she doesn't count as a fully person--not much of a meat fan, that one!) to have it for dinner/lunch twice (and it microwaves very nicely!).

Restaurant-Style Ground Beef

Prep time: Less than 15 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours

You will need:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 Large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp oregano
2 Tsp chili powder
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups of water*
Pinch of cilantro
Sauce pan

*You need the water to completely cover the ground beef in the pan. If you have a smaller pan, you will probably need less water... a bigger pan, you'll need more. But I find that somewhere between 2-3 cups of water is about right for a small-to-medium sized sauce pan.

Step 1: Dice onions and Garlic


Step 2: Place ground beef, onions, and garlic in the pan




Step 3: Cover with water





 Step 4: Add spices





Step 5: Mash up the mixture in the water until all of the beef is broken up and the herbs are well-mixed.


Step 6: Cover the pan and turn the burner on to medium heat. Let it cook (bringing it to a boil) for about 25 minutes.


Step 7: After 25 minutes--or so--the beef should be cooked through. Remove the lid from the pot and let the beef continue to cook at medium heat. (I usually use the other half of the onion to make a pico de gallo, so when I am through with that, I throw in a little minced cilantro, as well. This is only optional)



Step 8: Allow the beef to cook until most of the liquid has cooked down or evaporated (at least an hour)


Step 9: Drain off the excess fat and serve.



22 comments:

  1. Sounds yummy! (BTW, I'm determined to comment on every post. Haha!)

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  2. Good recipe. I added/upped a few spices (more cayenne, oregano & chili pepper, added paprika, cumin) & cut down on the water (2 cups was sufficient for a pound of beef). Definitely tasted more like ground beef that you would taste at a real Mexican restaurant.

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  3. This was just what I have been looking for! As a transplant from Alabama to NYC, I can safely say that I can make better Mexican food at home than almost any "Mexican" restaurant in this city, thanks to this recipe. I do like mine a bit less spicy, so next time around I'll cut back a bit on the chili powder.

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    1. Absolutely delicious as written, even my 4 year old loved it! The 2nd time I made it I added a healthy dose of cumin, just because we love it.

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  5. The texture of the meat was good and it was tender however the taste was very bland. I had to add a lot of additional spices to give it flavor.

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  6. I made this last night and it was perfect! My only change was reducing the tablespoon of black pepper to a teaspoon. The consistency and flavor was perfect. The water boiled out just as you have written after removing the cover. Thank you for this recipe!

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  8. Can't wait to try this. We've experimented with so navy different recipes. I was tempted to just call our local Mexican restaurant and just ask them until I saw this... Lol. Thank you... I'll let you know how it comes out.

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  9. Can't wait to try this. We've experimented with so navy different recipes. I was tempted to just call our local Mexican restaurant and just ask them until I saw this... Lol. Thank you... I'll let you know how it comes out.

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  10. Making this right now. It's smelling wonderful. Added a couple chopped tomatoes and two Anaheim chilies. Instead of water I used beef stock. I think it going to be delicious!

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    1. It was delicious and have made it twice since..

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  11. When I cook Indian I love to use black cumin whole, as it usually has enough time to soften and release it's flavors into the base as my curry simmers. Do you think whole Mexican cumin seeds would work in a recipe like this? I think they may be a bit toothy to begin with...

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  12. Absolutely delicious recipe. I make it all the time now and never by packet taco seasoning anymore. The house smells wonderful while cooking. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  13. This is awesome and is now my go to taco meat recipe for taco night.

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  14. now I have two items that are not allowed to be in my home. Hamburger Helper anything and taco seasoning. This recipe is the best I have ever had. of course I added a thing or two,but this is the taco meat I have been looking for. Simply AWESOME

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  15. Cooking it now ill post after we eat to see how it turns out

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  16. So good! I also made some minor changes... I used 8oz of tomato sauce and chicken broth instead of water to cover the meat. For spices I added cumin and coriander. This was the best taco meat I've ever made. I will never go back to the packets! It takes longer than the packets, but the pay off is SO worth it! Thanks!

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  17. Didn't care for it, the color was atrocious and there is no way this could be considered taco meat, it was way to soupy even after I drained off a lot of liquid and simmered it uncovered for 2 hours, also, I had to add a ton of spices it was so bland. I fed it to the dogs after all that.

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  18. this sounds absolutley delicious, great for leftovers probably! thanks for giving the different twists so I can try a different one each time! :) Techlazy.com Crazyask.com Howmate.com

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  19. I have been pre-cooking ground beef for a long time – it is just so much easier to do it once and be done with if for a while. Sometimes I cook a batch that is just plain ground beef – and then I’ll do another batch and add green peppers and onions. I also store mine in freezer zip lock bags due to the storage issue – much easier to store flat.UpdateLand

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    1. I thought i was the only one who stored it flat, lol!! Great minds, great minds...

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