Time for another recipe from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday. This one’s a quick to prepare change-up to the typical taco. Why limit yourself to just chicken and beef? How about something a little more on the green side?
Greens braised in a bit of broth, mixed with garlic, red pepper, and flavorful red onions make for a delicious and surprisingly satisfying filling for warm corn tortillas, particularly when topped up with fresh cheese, sour cream, and smoky salsa. The best part is you can use just about whatever leafy green you have on hand, from chard to spinach. Don’t worry about the ground beef and taco seasoning packets – you won’t miss ‘em.
Ingredients. Not much to it, really.
Slice your onion 1/4″ thick or so. You can use white or red onions – here I like the stronger bite of red onions, but your taste may vary.
For my greens, I used swiss chard. Spinach or collard greens would be equally good. For large leaves like chard, chop into strips about 1/2″ wide.
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil (or use bacon fat if you want) in a large wok or skillet, and cook the onion. Stir frequently for 4-5 minutes until the onion is golden brown but still crunchy.
Add minced fresh garlic and red pepper flakes and stir in until the aroma starts to waft up to your eagerly waiting nostrils.
Add 1/2 cup broth, greens, and a bit of salt. I went with chicken broth, but you can use pork, or, for fully vegetarian, use vegetable broth or plain water.
Cover and simmer just until the greens are just tender, then uncover and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Try not to overcook – I prefer to keep a bit of texture in the greens.
Spoon into warm tortillas and top with cheese (queso fresco is best, but I was out), sour cream, and smoky salsa. There are a lot of ways to make this dish your own, so feel free to experiment with the ingredients. Enjoy!
Tacos with Braised Greens
from Mexican Everyday
- 12 ounce bunch swiss chard, collard, mustard, or beet greens, thick stems removed OR 10 ounces spinach
- 1 ½ Tbl. vegetable oil, olive oil, lard, or bacon drippings (muah ha ha)
- 1 large white or red onion, sliced ¼” thick
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. (or to taste) red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
- warm corn tortillas, for serving
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco, feta, or other fresh cheese
- ¾ cup smoky red salsa (make your own or use your favorite bottled brand)
Cut the chard crosswise into strips (½” or so). Small greens like spinach may be used as is. In a very large skillet or wok, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the onion until golden brown but still crunchy, 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir in. Reduce heat slightly to medium-low, and then add the broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and the greens. Cover the pan with a lid (or a cookie sheet in a pinch) and cook until the greens are nearly tender. This varies widely depending on the greens – spinach takes only 2 minutes or so, collard greens take around 7, and swiss chard needs about 5.
Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Taste and and extra salt if needed. Serve on warm tortillas, topped with crumbled cheese, salsa, and anything else you like (sour cream is good).