Far from being an authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex dinner, this is a way to enjoy stuffed tortillas or tacos in Finnish style.
To make a vegetable filling, see a recipe for vegetable filled tortillas.
butter and/or oil
additional ingredients and trimmings:
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium onion
a couple of garlic cloves
about 1 kg ground or extremely finely chopped beef
about 1 tbsp (or to taste) chilli seasoning
about 500 - 600 ml beef or chicken stock (homemade or from good-quality fumet)
(1 400-g can chopped tomatoes)
pinch of soft brown sugar
1 can (about 400 g) brown/kidney beans or about 200 - 300 ml soaked and cooked brown beans
homemade maize tortillas or top-quality store-bought soft maize or wheat tortillas or taco shells
shredded lettuce (eg butterhead, crisphead)
chopped onion, spring onion or scallion
sliced or cubed tomatoes
whole or sliced pickled jalapeño chilli peppers
sweetcorn kernels canned or stripped from freshly cooked corncobs
grated flavourful cheese (mature Cheddar, Gouda, etc) or Cheddar cheese sauce
Start by preparing the beef (or vegetable) filling. If you plan to prepare most of the trimmings yourself, make some of them ahead of time (the salsa, the tortillas), and the rest of them while the filling is simmering (the guacamole, the Cheddar cheese sauce).
Arrange the rest of the ingredients in separate bowls/plates or a large serving platter, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to wait.
If using dried brown/kidney beans, see the instructions for soaking and boiling them safely here.
For the filling, finely chop the onion and the bell peppers. If you want, first remove the peel of the peppers by using a sharp vegetable peeler.
Warm a frying pan until hot, add some butter and/or oil and the chopped onions, peppers and the garlic through a garlic press. Cook and stir the vegetables until softened, then set aside.
Clean the pan and reheat it, adding some butter and/or oil. Add the crumbled ground or finely chopped meat and cook it on high heat, stirring, until all the moisture has evaporated.
Add the cooked vegetables (and the chopped tomatoes, if using them), some chilli seasoning to taste and about 300 millilitres of boiling hot stock to cover the meat. Stir, lower the heat, cover the pan and let the mixture simmer slowly for about 2 to 3 hours, stirring every now and then.
Add some more hot stock whenever the mixture seems to start drying out.
Towards the end of cooking, add a pinch of brown sugar and the brown beans. If using canned beans, sieve and rinse them under cold, running water.
Simmer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, adding some more hot stock, if necessary.
The filling is ready when it has a smooth, homogeneous texture, see the picture on right.
When eating, take a reheated tortilla or a taco shell, top/fill it with the beef filling and the trimmings listed above, roll it up or fold it over to cover the filling and enjoy.
Recipe source: family recipe/beef filling recipe adapted from "Tacotäyte" by restaurant "Katupoika", Helsingin Sanomat/Ruokatorstai, 1990.