Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ranch Fusion Beef Tacos w/Chile Ranch Sauce

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I was just sitting back on my couch watching a movie one night and this recipe just popped into my head. I've used those taco seasoning packets that you can find in the grocery store all the time, you know the ones that Taco Bell or Ortega put out and I while I like that they are made to make it easier for people to home-cook their own taco flavored beef... it just felt I was cheating my family and myself out of a real seasoned beef, so after some experimenting a few times I think it's ready for my to publish this recipe.

Here is what you're going to need, so if you don't have these ingredients go run out and get them, you will not be disappointed with the taste!

For the seasoned beef:

2 lbs of lean ground-beef (93/7 ratio, preferably)
3 medium-garlic cloves, crushed OR 2 teaspoons of garlic powder (I can't really taste the difference)
2 teaspoons of onion flakes
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of chili powder
1/4 cup of olive oil / vegetable oil
1/2 cup of water
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of low-fat buttermilk
1 medium-sized lime

For the Chile Ranch Sauce:

4 already dried chile peppers (I used my left overs from my previous recipe)
1 16oz bottle of your favorite Ranch Salad Dressing

Preparing the seasoned beef and Chile Ranch Sauce:

Go ahead and defrost the beef anyway you want ~ I sometimes put it in the microwave with timed defrost for about 8 minutes but sometimes I just let it sit in the fridge over night, get it a little bit soft and sit it out on the counter top while still in it's packaging until I get all of my spices together. I like to mix all of the dried ingredients in a small metal bowl first, so take your garlic, onion, sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, and chili powder and throw it all into one metal bow. After you've got these all mixed up nice in the bowl, take your chile peppers and cut them open from top to bottom, dump out all of the seeds into a container for further use if you'd like then go ahead and heat up a small or medium skillet and cook them with the open part facing down until they turn into a brown/yellow color and become 'crispy', usually this takes less than 2 minutes after heating up your skillet. Once they are toasted, break them up with your hands until they are small pieces over another metal bowl and fill it up with enough hot water to submerge them, keep them in liquid for about 15 minutes and get out your blender, unless you want to mix the ranch sauce by hand.

As the toasty peppers soak, go ahead and preheat your pan for the beef on high heat ~ take your packet of Ranch Dressing mix and combine it with the buttermilk and sour cream until it is a nice smooth and consistent texture~ then go ahead (if you haven't already broken the meat) make sure the meat is in little squares in the pan because this not only helps it cook quicker, but when you pour on your dry spices on (do this about five minutes into cooking) it will be able to encompass the whole thing with flavor. As your meat begins to brown, keep it on high and pour both your olive oil and water over it to get a nice juicy thing going and once the meat is nearly completely brown, go ahead and mix in your ranch dressing you just made and mix it all up as you cook it for another five minutes or so on medium heat... you want to cook it so well that the line between meat and ranch become one. You'll notice that once the meat is done that there is probably still a lot of water and oil in the pan... some people like to keep this liquid there as they feel it gives it a soaked taste (I wasn't aware this was a thing), but I will usually get like a noodle strainer and just empty out all of the excess juices and put it back in the pan while the heat is off to sorta "re-cook", but not on an extreme level. I use this as an opportunity to cut the lime into quarters and squeeze two of those pieces over my cooked meat to give it of a real zest and really bring out the seasoning I've added to the beef. OK, you're done with this part.

If you haven't already tended to it, go ahead and drain the water from your liquefied chile peppers and pour the remaining bits into your blender... and now for the really fun part: get your bottle of ranch dressing and squirt every last drop you can into the blender and mix it up... you will end up with a really tangy, yet spicy, sauce you can put over your beef.

Now that your sauce and meat is done, go ahead and grab some tomatoes if you have them, dice them up, warm up some flour or corn tortillas, lay down your meat and pour on some sauce and enjoy!