Ground Turkey Tacos Seasoned with Cocoa & Chipotle

Growing up, my mom seasoned her ground beef for American style tacos with plenty of Chili Powder, Garlic, Onion and a bit of cumin and tomato. It was moist and tasty. We put the meat into hard shells, baked them for about 10 mins and served them with sour cream, cheese, tomatos, olives, and lettuce.

A couple of years ago, I was at my play cousin’s house (Ramee Randall) and she made her tacos in a different yet classic African-american style. She used white flour tortillas and a pre-mixed taco packet. She had the classic American toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, sour cream, and taco sauce.  Unlike most black folk in LA, she didn’t fry her tortillas. I was impressed with the simplicity of the tacos and when she made them for parties, everyone was very satisfied. I actually found them quite amazing and decided to stop turning my nose up on pre-mixed seasoning packets.I went to the store and bought the brand that was on sale, Lawry’s. Tried the tacos at home and was quite pleased. I tried a couple other packets but liked Lawry’s the best.

Last night I made the tacos and put a slightly different spin on them. Here’s are my ingredients. since i didn’t measure, these are approximations:

  • blue corn tortillas (inexpensive at Trader’s Joes)
  • 1 lb of ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil and canola oil mixed
  • 1/2 can of beef broth to about another 1/2 can of water
  • approximately 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • approximately 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • approximately 1 tsp regular chili powder
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • a couple of dashes of regular tabasco sauce (i like the sting!)
  • 1 packet of Lawry’s Taco Seasoning

First I put some oil in a cast iron pan. I added the garlic and after 10 seconds added the meat. Start breaking up the meat before you put it in the pan and keep breaking it with a wooden spoon as it’s cooking ( about 8 – 10 mins). Add the seasonings. Turn the heat off when the meat sizzling slows down but just right after it’s cooked all the way through. Add the broth and water a 1/4 cup at a time to make the Turkey meat juicy. I may have added a little more than one can of moisture. it seemed that the meat just keep soaking up the water. I wanted the meat to get moist and stay tender but not overly juicy or watery.

Warm the tortillas in a pan for about 15 seconds on each side. Stuff them with the meat. I topped them with Plain Greek Yogurt (instead of sour cream), tabasco sauce, chopped red onion, chopped heirloom tomatos, spinach, and fresh avocado.

A note about the cocoa…Lawry’s adds cocoa to it’s seasoning mix. You can’t taste anything chocolatey. The cocoa simply complexifies the flavor and complements the flavor of the chili’s in a really wonderful way. As a tip, I would NOT suggest to substitute sweetened cocoa powder. Unsweetened only.


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