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Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Tacos de Guisado

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    Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Tacos de Guisado

    Of all the places I’ve traveled outside of the States, the place I most frequent and enjoy is our neighbor south of our border, Mexico. I love the people, the beauty, the variety of subcultures and most of all the cuisine. When one thinks of the world’s great cuisines; be they Italian or French in Europe, or Thai and Japanese in Asia, one must indeed count cochina Mexicana among the very finest. Depending on the state or region you travel to, the cuisine varies greatly with influences felt as far away as Europe and Asia but as close as the indigenous population.

    Regardless of the type of food or variety of cuisine, what really defines Mexico and Mexican food is the taco. For most Mexicans it’s their form of hamburger or sandwich. It’s a simple vehicle that holds just about any type of cooked solid food from rich stews, grilled meats, or just plain rice and beans. Its indeed their form of eat it on the run, fast food. And that simple disk that holds those meals, the ubiquitous tortilla, is centuries old. Not a day goes by when the average Mexican doesn’t eat a tortilla with something in it. Made primarily from corn that was cultivated by the Aztecs and other indigenous ancient peoples, it’s the staple in all Mexican kitchens. Later, when the Spanish introduced wheat to the arid northern parts of Mexico (due to its ability to survive drier climates), the flour tortilla emerged as well.

    I’ve enjoyed the entire series on Netflix called the Taco Chronicles not just for the food, but its glimpse into the people and culture of Mexico. Because of my love for the country, its people and the cuisine, I thought I would attempt, in my own crude way to cook a variety of Mexican taco favorites. I hope in doing so to introduce those who think Taco Bell defines what a taco is, to a whole new culinary world of flavors. This may take me a while, so I invite you to come along for the journey and hopefully enjoy, comment and contribute to the wonderful world of the taco.

    Up first is one that really is a variety, a virtual smorgasbord of stews that are cooked and served on tortillas. The word quisado roughly translates into stewed. Yet it goes beyond just stewing of a variety of proteins, it’s best defined as what we might term home cooking. Think of mom’s stew she made for Sunday dinner; simple and delicious, flavors wafting through the air on a quiet Sunday afternoon, that’s quisado.

    Typically found in the central region of Mexico and specifically Mexico City, those who operate stands or small restaurants cook up a variety of stews usually displayed in clay pots. They cook up to 20 or more types each day, each one different and unique. They lay out their wares and invite folks to choose by loading up a tortilla full of goodness. So instead of a dry hamburger patty or a bland ham and cheese sandwich, the fast food known as tacos de quisado is simple but well prepared fresh home cooking on a tortilla.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tacos de quisada.jpg Views:	0 Size:	175.3 KB ID:	955378

    Now obviously I’m not going to attempt 20 odd varieties of stews to try and cook. I think you get the gist of how they prepare and sell these tacos. So instead I chose a couple that represent the somewhat broad spectrum of types to choose from. For my first offering I chose a simple peasant dish called carne guisada. For those with a keen eye, you’ll notice I changed the tense to guisada from guisado. My understanding (and correct me if I’m wrong my Mexicano friends) is a guisada is typically singular or in this case one type of meat preparation, whereas the quisado would be more plural in nature to pick up on a number of items that might make up a stew of say meat and vegetables.

    So carne quisada is a preparation of some sort of beef stewing meat cooked in a sauce. For my particular type of meat, I chose a choice tri-tip (happened to be on sale) and cut it into bite-sized cubes. So here’s the recipe I chose to make as one example for my tacos;

    Tacos de Quisada

    Course. Lunch or Dinner. Main Dish. Beef.
    Cuisine. Mexican
    Makes. 4 to 6 servings
    Takes. 30 minutes prep and 2-3 hours cooking


    2-pounds chopped chili or stew meat (I used some on sale tri-tip so anything goes)
    1-large white onion chopped (reserve a portion for garnish)
    3-4 garlic cloves chopped
    1-14 ounce can Muir Glen roasted chopped tomatoes
    1/2 -cup cilantro chopped (reserve some for garnish)
    1/2-cup chicken stock
    1-bottle beer
    1-teaspoon cumin powder
    1-teaspoon adobo salt
    1-teaspoon achiote (try and source this)
    1-tabelspoon oil for sauté
    Salt and pepper to taste

    10-12 corn tortillas
    Reserved onion and cilantro
    Favorite salsa

    1. In a 5-quart CI pot or dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onion is sweated down and translucent. To that add the can of tomatoes and cilantro, stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

    2. Season your cubed meat in a bowl with the salt and pepper, toss then add to the pot. **The option would be to fire up your smoker and lightly pre-smoke the meat for great depth of flavor.**

    3. Add to the pot the stock, the beer, the cumin, adobo and achiote. Once combined, either cover and continue to stew on medium low heat or place the pot on your smoker, smoking with your favorite wood. Continue to cook for 2 more hours adjusting the seasoning if necessary.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	guisada 06.jpg Views:	0 Size:	603.5 KB ID:	955379

    4. Test for beef tenderness and continue to cook if need be. Allow the stew to cool a bit before serving.

    5. Load up some warmed up tortillas with the stew. Double up the tortillas to help absorb the broth. Garnish with the onion/cilantro mix and top with the salsa. Serve and enjoy.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	guisada 01.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.24 MB ID:	955382Click image for larger version  Name:	guisada 05.jpg Views:	0 Size:	6.37 MB ID:	955381Click image for larger version  Name:	guisada 02.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.06 MB ID:	955380

    Added Bonus

    As I mentioned in my intro, Tacos de Quisado are offered with a variety of differing stews, a virtual smorgasbord to choose from. So to show the extreme as to what is available, if you watched the episode on Taco Chronicles, one of the favorite choices among all of them was offered with liver and onions.

    Knowing how much you all like it when I post liver and onions, I went ahead and made Sunday morning Tacos de Higado y Cebollas. Enjoy !!!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	liver & onions guisada 02.jpg Views:	0 Size:	4.86 MB ID:	955384Click image for larger version  Name:	liver & onions guisada 04.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.76 MB ID:	955383

    Hope you enjoyed my initial offering of authentic Mexican tacos. Also hope you will continue with me and my culinary journey around Mexico seeking out and cooking a variety of authentic tacos. Next up is one of the hottest tacos to hit the scene here in the States, authentic Birria !!! Stay tuned !!!

    Troutman signing out !!!
    Last edited by Troutman; December 14, 2020, 02:14 PM.

    Y'all are killing me today - so much good food to make, so little time. I've been wanting to up my taco game so I'll be following your posts closely. BTW - did you mean adobo sauce? Never heard of adobo salt and google wasn't too helpful.

    Fortunately all of my local stores carry achiote paste.

    The Tacos de Higado y Cebollas look great, might have to step outside of my box and try them.
    Last edited by 58limited; December 13, 2020, 02:01 PM.


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      I use Goya Adobo seasoning salt.

    Out of the park, Steve. Again!


      I'm not much of a liver fan, but the stew meat version sounds great.


        Great, great write up!

        I also loved Taco Chronicles, and like you, more so I found myself liking the cultural aspect of the show even more than the tacos, which is huge because I love me some tacos!!!!!

        I really enjoyed the book Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak. Not sure if you have it or read excerpts from it but I think you would enjoy it and the spin he has on many of the traditional tacos but also the creative side of some of the tacos he brings. He spend time traveling Mexico as well and picked up on the regional differences between the same taco and such.

        Looking forward to the Birria write up as well! I’ve made these a few times during the past few months and plan on making them this week as well after reading some more recipes and finding a few things to work into the method! But I can’t wait to see what you come up with, especially knowing you will use different meat than what I will have!

        Again - wonderful write up!


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          I'll haveta go look into th several Taco books I gots, an share th titles here in Th Pit...

          All are Extremely Good, an one goes far, far deeper into th cultural an regional differences, an th reasons therefore.

          Quite educational, cookin wise, an informational, in unnerstandin a country, an its peoples...

          Win-Win, sez I!!!
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; December 14, 2020, 07:15 PM. Reason: clerifickation

        I can speak Spanish: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Nachos & Tortilla Recipes, muchas gracias


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment

        • gcdmd
          gcdmd commented
          Editing a comment
          Otra cerveza, por favor; Pabst Cinta Azul, por supuesto.

          Donde estan los servicios sanitarios?

        Troutman Is the achiote whole, ground, or paste?
        Last edited by ofelles; December 13, 2020, 08:01 PM.


        • ofelles
          ofelles commented
          Editing a comment
          OOPPs! Sorry I saw achiote but was thinking Annatto Seed. My bad.

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment

          Ain't he th ol Noble (Hidalgo) who spent a lotta time tiltin at windmills???

        • gcdmd
          gcdmd commented
          Editing a comment
          achiote = annatto

        Awesome post!
        Gustavo Arellano, who did a few episodes, is a dear friend of mine.


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Tell him I loved every episode and look forward to future ones as well.

        Steve - you legend. Will follow with interest. I try to convince my Swedish friends that they need to eat authentic Mexican tacos - once they do, there’s no turning back. What most people eat here is the same lousy imitation that Taco Bell offers. Thanks for sharing!


          1) Taco ChronIcles is cued up on Netflix. Gonna start tonight. Thanks for the tip!

          2) Those tacos look killer. Being a Southern California native I’ve had a lot of good Mexican food - and a lot of Mexican friends with moms who share cooking secrets!

          3) Here’s my salsa recipe. It gets rave reviews everywhere I take it. I got it from a friend, who got a it from the owner of a Mexican restaurant...it has my tweaks and twists. Enjoy it as is or make your own version.

          Red Salsa - party batch (cut in half for family batch)
          Two large cans (24oz) Tomatoes - whole peeled
          Serranos - 4 - pan roasted until outside is blistered
          Cilantro - one bunch
          Garlic granulated - 1 tbsp
          Salt - 2 tsp corse kosher
          White onion - 1/4 of a small/medium onion
          Juice from half of a Key Lime
          Pinch of cumin
          Blend all ingredients to desired consistency.



          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks fer sharin amigo!
            Much appreciated!

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Yea salsa is a subset to tacos. We need to start a whole series just on that alone !!!

          Looking forward to following this, sounds like I should watch that series as well.


            Thanks Steve. The recipes look like we'll enjoy them, but I especially appreciate your cultural observations. Gatherings of friends and family most often involve food, and if there is an element of cultural variety, all the better. As a wee lad I recall the impact my recent immigrant mother's cooking had on the late '40s Kansas family she married into. My grandfather was particularly impressed enough that he offered to build her a restaurant because he was convinced that others would marvel as he did.

            Some years later when offered an all expense paid tour of Southeast Asia we took the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the local food. One of my favorite street foods was something we called "monkey balls". To this day I still have no idea what it really was other than delicious.

            My first wife was filipina and it was customary when folks from the Filipino community got together a "potluck" table was typical. Whenever I would pile on my rice portion the dark reddish brown and lumpy "gravy" as the "natives" did I would disappoint many by not gagging when they informed me it was fried pigs blood.

            Pardon the random musings, I just love that cultural observation thing.


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              I got a filipina now myself. I know the drill

            Looking forward to this. Thanks for taking the time to share. On my one and only trip to Mexico 30 odd years ago, I remember being shocked that what I thought was a taco wasn't really close to the truth.


            • ofelles
              ofelles commented
              Editing a comment
              Years ago I worked in a sheet metal production factory. I was the white boy among the Mexicans. I found out that anything wrapped was a taco to them.
              Also they always had a few homemade salsas floating around the lunch table and they would tell me "No, not hot, not hot" So I would try it and - they LIED. But it always tasted so good I fell for it every time.

            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              ofelles, they called me soul brother #1 all the time I was there. It was pretty funny. At one joint, I kept asking if they had hotter salsa. Finally, they brought what I think was mashed peppers with a little vinegar. It nearly killed me. I looked up, and the whole kitchen staff was watching me and laughing.
              Last edited by klflowers; December 15, 2020, 10:41 AM.

            Any time th Taco Train rolls out on an excursion, ya can count on findin me aboard, I'm All In!!!


              Nice post and following with interest.
              If you liked Taco Chronicles, check out Street Food: Latin America, which looks at street vendors in various cities in Latin and South America, and the street specialties. They've expanded to Street Food: Asia, which wife and I are enjoying, but not as much as LA.

              If you have Hulu, also of interest might be the Eater Guide show. Lotta interesting places to eat and inspirations to cook.


              • SheilaAnn
                SheilaAnn commented
                Editing a comment
                Troutman I have street food on Netflix.

              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                SheilaAnn thanks I’ll check it out tonight !

              • Potkettleblack
                Potkettleblack commented
                Editing a comment
                Netflix Original.


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