Photo above: “Armoured” taco – Taco acorazado (poblano strips with cream filling.)
I just learned that “El día nacional del taco” – “National Taco Day” originated in 2007, promoted by Mexican TV company Televisa; since then, it has been celebrated in Mexico, in all its splendour, every March 31. However, in the USA, and recently in Canada, National Taco Day is marked on the calendar on October 4; that is the date I have adopted in my blog to take the opportunity to make a list of my posts with a taco theme during the year (click on highlighted year numbers to visit my lists from 2018, 2019, and 2020.) This year, I have another interesting selection of tacos (click on highlighted titles for full stories and recipes):
Tacos de Cochinita Pibil (October 22, 2020)
Cochinita means “small pig”, and pibil refers to the method of cooking in a piib, which is a pit where food is slow-cooked buried in a bed of hot coals and rocks, and sealed with dirt, generally wrapped in banana leaves, used in the Yucatan peninsula and some parts of Central America to this day and since pre-Hispanic times. Because an annatto-based rub called “recado rojo”, or “pasta de achiote”, is often used to condiment food cooked in the piib, the name “pibil” is given to dishes with that seasoning, even though nowadays many are prepared in a regular oven, over the stove, or in a slow cooker. Shredded, juicy pibil meat, is used to stuff tamales or, as in the case of tacos, corn tortillas, then topped with pickled onions and habanero peppers.
Armoured Tacos – Tacos acorazados (November 19, 2020)
As seen at the top of this post (with poblano strips), and below, left (with chorizo and green beans), the double tortilla and scoop of rice serve as an “armour”, making these tacos stable, portable, and preventing them from becoming soggy (photo below, right). Acorazados are still mostly related to the Mexican state of Morelos, but the model is used by many restaurants and stands around the country, wherever tacos de guisado are served.
Rose Meat Tacos – Tacos de suadero (April 13, 2021)
Suadero is a flat cut of beef, from a muscle palpable right under the skin, located on the lateral surface of the animal’s trunk. It has a layer of fat attached, and it is generally a lighter shade of red than beef steak or roast, for what it is also called “fresada” (strawberry-like), or “rose meat” in English. A popular option is to include a piece of longaniza, a type of sausage that, in Mexico, is seasoned with red dry peppers.
Octopus Tacos – Tacos de pulpo (May 15, 2021)
Octopus tacos and tortas (Mexican sandwiches) have always been very popular at seafood stands inside mercados (markets), or while chilling at a cantina (bar), where they may be enjoyed with a beer. The traditional seasonings are either “en su tinta” – in their own ink, or cooked, then sautéed with onions and peppers, similar to fajitas; in recent years, an Asian touch has been introduced in some cases, using soy sauce as part of the seasonings. For my recipe at home, I took inspiration from different versions, adding seasoning with some of my Asian-inspired sauce, including a few hot peppers, for an extra punch of flavour, and dressing the tacos with shredded cabbage, for some crunch.
(September 16, 2021)
The word birria defines a person or thing of poor value; there are several stories of how the dish came to have such name. One of the most popular claims that, once introduced in Mexico for their milk, the goat population increased very rapidly, thriving in semi-arid regions including areas in the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Colima, so farmers decided to consume the meat as a measure of demographic control; the resulting dish of heavily seasoned pieces of meat (to hide the goat smell), was said to “look like a birria.” At any rate, birria is nowadays enjoyed nationwide, still prepared with goat, but also with beef, or any other meat (pork, lamb, even chicken, fish or a mix), still seasoned heavily with chiles and spices, and perhaps still looking “of poor value,” but with a delicious taste and comforting quality that justify its lasting popularity. For restaurant style birria tacos, corn tortillas are dipped in the sauce, then fried along with some of the meat (photo below, left); once stuffed and finished with onions and cilantro, the tacos are served with more sauce, for dipping (photo below, right). Birria tacos have been trending in social media since 2020, and were also featured on an episode of the series The Taco Chronicles, Volume 2, on Netflix.
Enjoy one or all of these recipes any day, on March 31, or tonight; any night is Taco Night!
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #510, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.
I am joining Fiesta Friday #401 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, co-hosting this week with Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and Petra @ Food Eat Love. Special thanks to Angie and Liz for featuring my Restaurant Style Birria Tacos at this party.