Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taco Seasoning Mixture

There was a soup that I used to make years ago called Taco Soup. I loved this stuff, but a major component of the mixture was the cheap and easy taco spice mix packet that you would add.

This one, actually

Yesterday, I figured that I'd try to recreate this spice mixture, and I think I came pretty close! Don't know why I never did it before.

I started out thinking I'd use another Taco Seasoning Mix recipe as a baseline and then realized that out of all the spices in these recipes, including salt, I usually only had three available to me. So it was all about the 'what do I have in my cupboard or my garden that I could use' after that. I ended up doubling the spices I thought I'd need, mostly because I always went for the 'spicy' versions of any seasoning packets I used. If you like less spicy versions, I'd adjust accordingly.

Shauna's Taco Seasoning 
3 crushed chiltepines (tepin chiles) - These are hot, but tiny. This amounted to less than 1/8 of a teaspoon. I'd be fine with more, but the kids' tongues would object.
2 tsp salt
1 tsp homemade potato starch
2 1/2 heaping teaspoons chopped, fresh greek oregano
1/2 tsp dried and ground coriander (done in a mortar and pestle, so not finely ground)
*1 1/2 tsp dried and crushed onion seeds (also in mortar and pestle, so not finely ground. some still whole)
1 1/2 teaspoons each finely grated fresh ginger root and finely grated fresh turmeric root
1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled and blended into a paste/liquid

Mix this all together and add to whatever you are seasoning.

Obviously, this wouldn't work as well with something that needs to stay drier. I'm not even sure if it would work well for meat, although I'm trying that next. I think for meat I'd lower the level of red bell pepper. But for soup, it worked wonderfully! The turmeric was especially useful: as it cooked, you could see it slowly brighten up the color of the soup from a muddy reddish brown to a lovely orange-red tone. I'm very glad I put that one in.

I'm feeling so proud of this stupid thing, partly because so much of it is from my yard. I had to purchase the turmeric and ginger root, but the other spices are all from my herb garden, including the onion seeds. I look at this and realize why I didn't try this before, actually: I didn't have all the ingredients.
This time last year, I hadn't harvested the onions seeds yet and I didn't have much greek oregano, either. So really, this recipe has been about a year in the making, starting from the garden on up. :-)  Next time, I'll be seeing if I can dehydrate the ginger, turmeric, and bell pepper to make it completely dry so I can take it places like camping or on trips!

1. One thing to remember with a mixture like this: because it's not all powder, it will take longer to cook than that old spice packet I used to use. The turmeric especially needs at least a little cooking time or it will both not develop the lovely color (when grated like this) and it can retain a kind of bitter flavor, I'm told. So if I were using this mixture with an old recipe that calls for taco seasoning, I'd add this in when there's still at least 10 minutes of cooking time left.

2. I'm trying to figure out a way to avoid the onion seeds, but that's going to be a few months as I'm growing some of the herbs I hope to use and they only now just went into the ground. Lovage is one of the major ones, plus pink peppercorns, and I might try my hand at growing mushrooms for this, too.

* Onion seeds may or may not work for those who are sulfite restricted. If you can't eat onions, I would use with caution. However, while onions make me very sick, the onions seeds last night, in a soup and not fried, didn't seem to be too big an issue. I believe I may have had a low level reaction, although it was hard to tell as I have the flu right now, so body is not up to snuff anyway! I grew these myself, so there were no processing issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment