Griddled Campechano Tacos

Tacos Campechanos a la Plancha
Campechano is a unexpected and complicated word in Spanish. But what you really need to know is that it is employed in the food realm to describe a mixture of two or more similar ingredients—most commonly meat or seafood. This is the taqueria version of tacos campechanos—not a home-style version that is often lot of meats (or leftovers) simmered together and then crisped in a pan. Some taqueros mix cecina enchilada de puerco (red chile pork cecina) into the preparation, seared like the beef and chopped into little pieces before adding it to the chorizo mixture. I personally love the versions that stir in crumbled crunchy chicharrón at the last minute, adding texture and richness that can’t be beat. Some taquerias keep the mixture simple, letting the chorizo or longaniza do all the seasoning. Taqueria Chupacabras says they add 127 spices (who even knows 127 spices?). I have landed here on the northern Mexican triumvirate: black pepper, Mexican oregano and cumin. Though it’s not particularly common, some taquerias add potato to this mixture, which I think gives the mixture the best texture for taco making. The flavor of your tacos campechanos is best, in my opinion, when made with lard. For the full-on tacos a la plancha experience, serve these tacos with seasoned cooked beans, nopales and Pickled Onions and Habaneros for the guests to pile on their tacos.
Servings: 12tacos



Sear the beef.  Set a very large (12-inch) skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Season the meat generously with salt on both sides.  When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons lard or oil, then lay in as much beef as fits in a single layer.  Let sear undisturbed on one side (it’ll take 1 ½ to 2 minutes to get deep, rich color), then flip and brown the other side. Repeat with the remaining meat (adding more lard or oil if necessary to coat the pan). As the meat is done, transfer it to a cutting board. Reduce the heat to medium and. If necessary, add more lard or oil.

Finish the mixture.  Add the chorizo or longaniza and the onion to the pan.  Cook, breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon or spatula, until the sausage is cooked through and beginning to brown, 4 or 5 minutes. While the sausage is cooking, chop the seared beef into small pieces—nothing larger than about ¼ inch.  Scoop it into the cooked sausage mixture, along with the potato and spices.  Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet frequently, until the mixture comes together into a light hash consistency and is nicely browned, 4 or 5 minutes.  Taste and season with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon (unless of you started with salty cecina) and scrape into a serving bowl. 

Serve.   Set out the meat mixture with warm tortillas, chicharrón if you are using it and the salsa for everyone to make their own tacos.    

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