Sep 15, 2009
This is a killer dish from my first book, Barbecue Secrets,
followed by a recipe for the best taco filling I've ever had.
Thanks to Cindy Crescenzo for the request. Hope you enjoy it! (It
should also work fine if you don't want to go through the trouble
of adding all the filling - just throwing in some grated cheese and
chopped pimentos as the filling would work just fine, too.)
Cowboy Cornbread with Taco Filling
Makes 6–8 servings
This recipe is a meal in itself, but is also a great side dish. I adapted it from a recipe that my Texan friend Amy Walker shared with me.
11/2 cups | 375 mL cornmeal
1/2 tsp | 2 mL baking soda
1 can (14 oz | 398 mL) cream-style corn
1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt
1 cup | 250 mL milk
1/4 cup | 50 mL olive oil
1 cup | 250 mL Mark’s Otherworldly Taco Filling (see recipe below) or, in a pinch, taco filling made from your favoriate commercial seasoning mix
2 Tbsp | 25 mL cornmeal
1 cup | 250 mL chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 jar (2 oz | 57 mL) pimentos, chopped
1/2 lb | 250 g grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350˚F | 180˚C. Mix the 11/2 cups | 375 mL cornmeal, soda, eggs, corn, salt, milk, and oil together. Set the batter aside. Warm up the taco filling in a skillet. Sprinkle the 2 Tbsp | 25 mL cornmeal in the bottom of a greased 11 x 7-inch | 2 L casserole dish. Pour in half the cornbread batter. Layer the taco filling, onion, green pepper, jalapeños, pimentos, and grated cheese. Top with the remaining cornbread batter. Bake the cornbread for 60–70 minutes. Cool it for at least 5 minutes before serving it.
Mark’s Otherworldly Taco Filling
Makes 4 servings
We’ve all had tacos made with ground beef and commercial “taco seasoning”—a cheap, sorry imitation of this wonderful dish, which is a staple food in Latin America. This rich, luxurious “chorizo” (a kind of loose version of what we normally think of as Spanish sausage) comes from famous Southwestern chef Mark Miller’s ground-breaking Coyote Café cookbook. It’s a great filling for quesadillas, tacos, or burritos. You can also mix it with scrambled eggs, spice up a soup with it, or just eat it right out of the pot. When I make it I usually double or triple the recipe and freeze some for future use.
1 lb | 500 g fresh ground pork
1/2 lb | 250 g fresh lean ground beef
2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
4 Tbsp | 60 mL ancho or New Mexico chili powder
1/2 tsp | 2 mL cayenne
1/8 tsp | 1/2 mL ground cloves
1/2 tsp | 2 mL freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp | 10 mL ground cinnamon
1 tsp | 5 mL ground cumin
1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt
3 cups | 750 mL water
Fry the pork and beef in a heavy skillet or big pot over medium heat. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and do not allow it to brown. Add the garlic, spices, salt, and 1 cup | 250 mL of the water. Cook the mixture slowly over low heat for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry. Add extra water as needed, though the finished mixture should not be wet; all the excess water should have evaporated and the chorizo should be cooking in its own fat (which you shouldn’t drain off because it’s so full of flavor!). Adjust the final seasonings by adding salt and pepper to taste.