Fall surprised me when I stepped onto my front porch on Sunday morning. As soon as I felt the frigid breeze on that deceitfully sunny morning, I did a 180 to grab the first jacket in our coat closet—a long turquoise peacoat that I wear for about two months of the year (October and April). When I emerged, my husband, who was waiting for me on the front porch, retorted with “Wow, it really is time for PSLs huh?” I was shocked that he even knew what a PSL was so I laughed out loud, and we hurried away to nearby coffee shop to work. It feels like I haven’t stopped moving since.
This week marks my first full month of teaching and whoever told me that the third year of teaching is the easiest, lied. This first month has passed by as a blur. Although this will be my third year in the classroom, it is my first year at a new school and I am surprised by how much I feel like a first-year teacher again. Although I no longer get lost in our misnumbered and maze-like hallways, or get my students name’s wrong, I still get taken aback by certain student questions: Was the link online? What can we dear during dress down days? Is today class or advisory day? I feel like a perpetual novice.
Add to this feeling a couple of new preps and you can begin to get a sense why these past few weeks have flown by as quickly as they did. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to summer properly, I didn’t make a single batch of ice cream from my food journal (yes, I have a journal where I write down recipes and food ideas). Although I am sad that I have to put all of my ice cream dreams on hold until next year (except for my apple cider donut vanilla ice cream dream, that is still happening), I am also excited for this fall season. You can call me basic but Fall brings some of my favorite flavors—apple-pumpkin-spice everything!
I haven’t made these Tacos de Papa “Fall-y” in any way(butternut squash tacos de papa?) but they are hearty, delicious and quick to make. Tacos de papa are the kind of Mexican food you would eat if a Mexican friend invited you over to their house on a weeknight.
Tacos de Papa are outrageously unhealthy. They are fried cheesy mashed potato tacos (think pierogi), slathered with hot sauce, sour cream (yes, more carbs!) and topped with curtido or lettuce. Tacos de Papa make no pretense of being anything other than freaking delicious. If you are able to get past your initial carb sensibilities you will be amazed by their taste.
Tacos de Papa are crunchy, cheese and tangy due to the combination of salsa and curtido. They are easy to make and they reheat well. If you really must, you can bake these but they will be about ½ as delicious as the original fried version—message me for more details. I went to town with these Tacos and in an effort to make them even more delicious, I added fontina cheese, chipotle and pancetta to one batch. The result was amazing. The slab of fontina from my local Cheese Shop added tang and depth, while the pancetta and chipotle added smokiness and a subtle sweetness.
Hope these keep you warm on these chilly fall evenings!
Notes: Curtido is a lightly fermented Salvadorian slaw most commonly used to top pupusas. My family adds curtido to tacos de papa but it is just as acceptable to top your tacos with fine shredded iceberg lettuce (for some crunch) sprinkled with lime. I like the curtido because it is crunchier but iceberg lettuce works just as well. The quick curtido recipe is at the bottom of this page. Curtido keeps in the fridge for at least two weeks and tastes better as it ages. Also, salsa is a must but there is no special recipe this week 🙁 so feel free to use the habanero sauce recipe for the Choritas with some extra habanero for a spicy kick.
Tacos de Papa Two Ways:
Yields: 8 tacos
Total Cook Time: 30 minutes
Tacos de Papa:
- 1 lb of potatoes, cut into chunks and peeled
- ½ cup of cotija cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 corn tortillas
- ½ cup of oil (for frying)
For Italian Fusion Tacos de Papa add:
- ⅓ cup of fontina (to replace cotija cheese)
- 4 oz cooked pancetta
- ½ teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder
- Sour Cream
- Diced tomatoes
- Add potatoes and enough water to cover potatoes to a pot and bring to a boil until the potatoes begin to fall apart (15-25 minutes).
- Strain the potatoes and add them to a bowl with cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mash until the potatoes stick together.
- Warm tortillas on skillet or microwave until they are pliable and will not rip upon bending. Then, add two heaping tablespoons of mashed potatoes to the tortilla. Fold in half and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring ½ cup of oil to medium heat and fry one taco at a time until the tortilla is a golden color.
- Serve immediately with curtido (recipe below) and salsa.
Quick Curtido Recipe:
- 2 cups of sliced cabbage
- ½ purple onion finely sliced
- 3 habaneros, finely sliced
- 1.5 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons of distilled vinegar
- ½ teaspoon italian seasonings
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- Bring water to boil in a small pot. Add salt, seasonings, vinegar, and vegetables. Remove from heat.
- Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Place contents in a jar and place in the refrigerator to cool.