So you posted this recipe yesterday at noon-ish and I will tell you that at 7:03 Eastern time, our family was absolutely in heaven eating your fantastic tacorito...WOW. I have never been to the restaurants, but your version of whatever they serve was almost hands-down the best Mexican we've ever tasted. And we're kind of aficionados. :-)
Note to those who may want to try making this: I used Crisco because of the sole fact that I had EVERYTHING else in my pantry (including red chili "caribe", oddly) and didn't want to run to the store, but it turned out fabulous. However, I would imagine that Barb's original recipe using lard would be even better, but in a pinch, Crisco works.
Thanks from Washington DC! ;-)
You may remember that when I went to visit my mother last month, she took me to The South, in Englewood, Colorado (Englewood is a southern suburb of Denver). My whole family lived in Englewood for years and years, some still do and I lived there when I was married to my first husband, over 30 years ago. There was a time when we ate there once a week. I have no idea what else they serve there - after I tasted the tacorito, it never occurred to me to order anything else when we went there. LOL
Since the mid 70's, The South, or as it was back then, The Holly South, has been my favorite restaurant and the tacorito has been my favorite Mexican food. They also make the best frozen margarita and guacamole I've ever tasted. But that's another couple of Google searches. :-)
This is the tacorito, or as it's called at The South, the quesarito, I was served at The South last month. Twice. No, I didn't order two of them. Mom and I went there twice during the five days I visited her. :-) And of course, I had to take a photo of my dinner.
I should explain this. The South used to be The Holly South and was part of the Holly franchise. When it was bought out by a private party, he had to change the name of the restaurant and its trademark dish. If you go to any of the Holly restaurants, you order a tacorito. At The South, you order a quesarito. Different names...but anyone who's ever had one knows it's the same dish.
I've been known to figure out how to recreate a favorite restaurant dish at home in my time (Carino's jalapeno garlic tilapia and Red Lobster's clam chowder and Cheddar Bay biscuits come to mind). But for years, I've been completely baffled by the tacorito.
It's the sauce. I've always known the secret is in the sauce because honestly, the burrito under the sauce is just a plain old beef burrito - nothing fancy at all.
Last month as I sat there eating my tacorito, I decided there simply had to be a way to figure out what's in this sauce. If they can make this, I can make this, if I can just figure it out.
So I came home and I Googled it and I found a copy-cat recipe that left me scratching my head because it's the strangest recipe I've ever seen and I never ever in a million years would have guessed the secret.
Here's the recipe I found. First, let me warn you this makes a lot but the wonderful thing is, once you make the sauce, it can be frozen in batches for later meals and THAT surprised the socks off me too.
I'm just going to give you the recipe the way I found it and I'll explain some things later. If this were not truly delicious, I wouldn't post it. I'm telling you, unless you've actually eaten at The South or one of the Holly restaurants in the Denver metro area, you've never tasted anything like this.
2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped fine
salt, pepper and onion powder to taste
shredded lettuce, shredded Cheddar, chopped tomatoes and chopped onions
Can be made the day before and refrigerated, or made and frozen in batches.
1 1/2 cups lard (stay with me here - I know, I know)
3 1/8 cups flour
3/4 pound sausage (cooked)
1 cup canned chili caribe (I'll explain) (I used a whole 28-ounce can)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 gallon boiling water
In a large, heavy skillet, melt lard. Add flour, mix well and cook for two minutes.
Add sausage, chili caribe, garlic powder and chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and add boiling water. Cook and stir until sauce is thick.
Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Can be frozen.
When ready to use, add small amounts of water to sauce to obtain consistency you want.
Making the tacorito
Brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Season with salt and pepper and onion powder to taste.
Using flour tortillas, add filling, shredded lettuce, grated cheese. Fold and roll tortilla and place on oven safe serving plate.
Cover with hot tacorito sauce and sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.
Place in hot oven until cheese melts.
Remove from oven and add shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and chopped onion.
I had to kind of "fix" this recipe. It was published by a talk radio host and whoever submitted it to him had probably never written a recipe before. It left me baffled. First, I had to do a web search to figure out what the heck chili caribe is. For Pete's sake, it turns out that all it is, is red chili sauce.
I've never bought lard in my life. I actually had to ask the grocer where on earth they kept it. Clue: lard is grease. Yeah. So it's with the Crisco and Wesson Oil. LOL Lard doesn't have to be refrigerated. Who knew?
The red chili sauce and the cooked sausage are the two mystery ingredients I never ever would have figured out. Once you know though, it becomes obvious.
I'll come right out and tell you that if you eat a tacorito every night of the week, forever, you're probably going to cause some traffic jams in your arteries. So before you leave me a comment telling me this sounds like a heart attack on a plate, please. We do NOT eat food like this very often. I don't normally use lard when I cook. Actually, before now, never. Because, you know. I'd never even bought it before I made this dish. :-)
I actually consider myself to be a pretty health-conscious cook. But occasionally, a dish like this is just worth it.
You can click on this photo for a better look at the ingredients.
And let me say this. Although this post is lengthy,
that doesn't mean this dish is complicated.
It's amazingly easy to make and it's not expensive. At all.
I tell you, it makes a LOT of tacorito sauce.
And all the "to taste" seasonings are entirely up to you.
I went heavy on the seasonings, but then, I always do. I like spicy food.
Note the can of red chili sauce. That's the chili caribe! Ha!
I used my jim-dandy Pampered Chef stir-and-chop thing to chop it fine.
Chop it as small as you possibly can.
Then drain it on paper towels and set it aside.
By the way, I used the whole pound of sausage.
Because what on earth do you do with a leftover quarter pound of sausage!
stirring constantly, for about two minutes.
I used the whole 28-ounce can of chili sauce.
The recipe calls for one cup. That's not enough.
And yes, I know this looks weird. But it's not.
(I told you...this is the strangest, most surprising, recipe I've ever made.)
Season to taste (salt, pepper, and a little more garlic powder :-),
and continue cooking and stirring for about five minutes
or until it all thickens.
you're going to freeze the majority of this.
This is the point where you want to put a lot of it
into freezer containers. You can see I got two future meals
out of this batch of tacorito sauce.
You're going to thin it with water to the consistency you want.
So put as much as you think you'll need for your dinner into a saucepan,
and that depends, of course, on how many tacoritos you're making,
and thin it by stirring warm water into it.
The consistency of the sauce is entirely up to you.
Mine came out a little thick - I think I'll make it thinner next time.
while you assemble the burritos.
Heat it over low heat - you only want it to simmer, not boil.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and onion powder.
I always use 96/4% ground beef so draining it isn't necessary,
but drain your beef if you need to.
This recipe calls for two pounds of ground beef.
That's because when you share a recipe, you need to give some amounts.
Obviously, two pounds was way too much for me and Rob
so we had leftovers.
Use however much meat you think you need
for the number of people you're serving.
I'd allow about one-half pound for an adult
and less for a child.
Sprinkle with shredded lettuce and shredded Cheddar cheese.
on an oven proof serving plate.
Here's where I made a big mistake. I don't have oven proof serving platters.
I have Pfaltzgraff oven proof serving dinner plates.
So I should have bought smaller tortillas instead of the ginormous ones.
The burrito shouldn't hang off the ends of the plate like that.
Next time I'll know. Sigh.
is that you want to completely cover it with the sauce.
I couldn't do that because mine were too long for the plate.
I'm adding oven proof individual serving platters
to my Christmas wish list. I like big burritos. LOL
Also, next time, I'll thin the sauce a little more.
This is probably a little too thick.
Anyhoo, cover the burrito with the tacorito sauce
and sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.
and heat until Cheddar cheese melts.
Be careful when you remove these from the oven
and make sure you use good, thick place mats at your dinner table.
They get hot! but they're supposed to.
The sauce is a little too thick.
And like an idiot, I forgot to buy tomatoes.
But other than that, this was delicious.
I swear, if you ate at the restaurant one night and my house the next night,
you'd never know the difference.
Since this was a test run, I made this for just me and Rob. But I cannot wait to make this for my kids. We're all huge Mexican food fans and they're gonna love this dish!
If you get to thinking about this five or six years from now, it'll be in my sidebar.
I'm kidding. I know you won't wait that long to try this, if you like Mexican food.