When I was first learning to cook, I focused my cookbook purchases on general tomes, the ones that would teach me a little of everything: Joy of Cooking, Cooking Know-How, The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook. Slowly, I started branching out and adding books for specific cuisines: La Cucina, so I could start learning to cook the foods we loved on our honeymoon, for instance. But lately, I’ve been most interested in single-topic cookbooks, books devoted entirely to pies, or sandwiches, or pizza. Or in this case, tacos.
I checked Tacos by Mark Miller out from the library last summer to find recipes for our taco party. I served the Santa Fe-Style Calabacitas and Chicken Tinga, and my friends still talk about the calabacitas, over 9 months later. Eventually, I had this book checked out from the library so often, that it seemed only fair for me to buy my own copy.
The taco filling recipes are sorted into their expected chapters: vegetables; chicken & fowl; seafood; pork; beef, lamb & game. Some of the ingredient lists seem long, especially once you realize that several of the ingredients need to be roasted or otherwise prepped in advance. But if I’m short on time and making tacos last minute, I’ll skip the roasting or leave the ingredient out altogether, and still end up with delicious tacos. And when peppers are in season again, I plan to roast a big batch and freeze them for tacos.
Each taco filling recipe is helpfully labeled with a heat level, on a scale of 0 to 10. The best type of tortillas, salsas and other accompaniments are noted as well, to help you build the best tacos. The book also includes a breakfasts chapter (Huevos rancheros! Smoky Yukon potato hash with pasilla chile rajas!), ten salsa recipes and a selection of sides and garnish recipes.
Because of this book, I now keep dried chiles and chunky salsas on hand, ready to turn any meat, even leftovers, into impromptu tacos on any evening.
A great book for tacos lovers, I give Tacos by Mark Miller: