Tacos are so wonderfully adaptable, their malleability making them the perfect dish to experiment with in the kitchen. With that spirit in mind, this recipe takes tacos down a slightly different path… a path paved with pure grass fed goodness from Foxhollow Farm. Gone is the overly seasoned, overly processed, mass produced ground beef. Here instead the natural flavors of Foxhollow’s beef are enhanced simply and richly with a homemade blend of cumin, garlic and cayenne. Bourbon Barrel Worcestershire sauce and freshly squeezed lime keep the meat moist and the flavor complex. Pickled red onion, peppers, carrots and cabbage take the place of the usual diced tomatoes and white onion while bagged shredded cheddar cheese is happily moved aside to make room for locally made, lightly creamy Capriole Farm’s goat cheese. Newly harvested microgreens from Foxhollow’s greenhouse top everything off, their freshness a welcome note in this compilation of flavors. If you aren’t already sold on Foxhollow’s grass fed ground beef, I am confident that this recipe will do the trick. I am equally as confident that you will fall unabashedly in love with the technique of quick pickling. Few things add such complexity and satisfaction to a dish and you will find yourself wanting to add your personal blend of veggies to nearly everything. A classic meal with a welcome twist – consider this your new go-to for taco night!
Generally it takes me a solid hour to an hour and a half to test a recipe. I stop to take notes along the way, rethink things, etc. It takes me twice as long if I am taking photos of the final results. This recipe took me less than 30 minutes, minus the additional time the veggies need to soak in the pickling juice. If you pickle the veggies a day ahead of time this will be on the table in 20 minutes, tops. That is my kind of weeknight meal!
I’ve played around with a few quick pickle recipes and especially liked the ratio I found on Instructables.com. At it’s base, quick pickling is a simple combination of vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Additional spices and such can be added to mix it up. Here, I warm one half cup apple cider vinegar, one half cup water, one tsp sugar and one tsp kosher salt over medium heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour over your thinly sliced vegetables of choice. I went for the colorful combination of thinly sliced carrots, red onion, red bell peppers and chopped cabbage. Throw in a clove of garlic, quartered, and allow to sit at room temperature for thirty minutes. Making the pickled veggies ahead of time? No need to heat the liquid. Just stir until the sugar and salt dissolve and then marinate in the refrigerator overnight. These pickled vegetables should last for a week in the fridge.
Warm a large saute pan over medium high heat. Pour one tsp of olive oil into the pan and add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Add the following to the beef: one tsp ground cumin, one half tsp garlic powder, one quarter tsp cayenne, two tsp Worcestershire, the juice from one half of a lime, three quarters tsp kosher salt and one quarter tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine and lower the heat to medium, allowing the beef to break down and for the spices to sink in. Cook for eight to ten minutes until the beef is brown and cooked through. Add one tbs minced fresh cilantro. Taste for seasoning.
While the beef is cooking wash the microgreens and toast the tortillas. The microgreens are delicate so you want to use a light touch. A quick rinse under cold water and then a light pat between two paper towels to dry should do the trick. For the tortillas, I like to turn my burner on medium-high and to set them directly over the flame. They won’t take more than 15 seconds per side to char and develop a wonderful crust. Just be sure to keep a close eye as they will flame up quickly.
Using a slotted spoon, layer the beef on the warm tortilla and top with the pickled veggies, goat cheese and microgreens. Enjoy!
Makes Six Tacos
- one half cup apple cider vinegar
- one half cup water
- one tsp sugar
- one tsp kosher salt
- one garlic clove, quartered
- one large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- one half of a red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- one half of a red onion, thinly sliced
- one cup cabbage, chopped
- one pound Foxhollow Farm ground beef
- one tsp olive oil
- one tsp ground cumin
- one half tsp garlic powder
- one quarter tsp cayenne
- two tsp Worcestershire
- the juice from one half of a lime
- three quarters tsp kosher salt
- one quarter tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- one tbs freshly minced cilantro
- Capriole Farm goat cheese