Ground Beef Tostadas

August 22, 2012

I have made 5-star tostadas about two years ago, but they took 4-1/2 hours and made a big mess. While I love the rich flavors of shredded meat, my kids are generally just as happy with quick-cooking ground beef. So I made these simple tostadas using Chris Kimball’s recipe for ground beef taco filling. I fried tortillas using Chris Kimball’s Tostada de Tinga technique of poking holes in the tortilla (so they don’t inflate), then frying them in 1” of vegetable oil; holding them flat with a potato masher. The tostadas were a big hit. My son and their friend gave them 5-stars. I agree they came out delicious, but their simplicity mean I can give them 4-stars.

Kid-friendly and easy to make; combines a few recipes.

Anytime you fry it makes a bit of a mess, but it wasn’t too bad and was definitely offset by the happiness of the children.


  1. There was a bit of a “scheduling issue” (i.e. having to do two things at once) when frying the tostada shells, which took about 20 minutes to fry 8 tortillas. I had to turn off the meat, to accommodate frying the shells so I would recommend making them before you start the filling. I keep them warm in a 200-degree oven (but would recommend 180-degrees).
  2. At one point when frying the tortillas my oil becomes too hot, and the tops and bottom of the tortilla fried unevenly. When I saw what was happening, I turned down the oil and flipped the tortillas so that both sides would cook evenly.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $6.00
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time: 5:00. Dinner time: 6:00

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared them today are given below:

Tostada Shell:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
12 six-inch corn tortillas or 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
Table salt

  1. Add vegetable oil to 8″ skillet. Preheat over medium burner. Use the tines of a fork to poke holes in the center and edges of each tortilla; 8 to 10 times per tortilla.
  2. Once at a time, add to oil and hold flat with a metal potato masher, which will keep the tortilla submerged. About 1 minute per tortilla.
  3. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining tortillas, keeping cooked shells warm in a 180-degree oven.

Ground Beef Ingredients:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion
3 medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

  1. Dice the small onion, which should yield about 2/3-cup. Peel 3 cloves of garlic.
  2. Preheat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Sauté the diced onion for 4 minutes, stirring as necessary.
  3. Meanwhile measure out and combine all dried spices into a small cup.
  4. When onions are ready, press garlic directly into skillet and add spice mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute to bloom flavors.
  5. Add ground beef to skillet. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Cook for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet to prevent scorching. The beef should no longer be pink.
  6. Add 1/2-cup tomato sauce, 1/2-cup chicken broth, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons cider vinegar. Heat up to a simmer, then turn down to medium-low. Continue to simmer until liquid has thickened, but not completely dry, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and ensure that no chunks of meat remain. Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. Place in serving bowl and pass toppings separately.

Grates cheese, queso fresco or feta cheese
Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
Sour cream
Diced avocado
Lime wedges

My garnishes; plus sour cream

Made entirely from spices already in my kitchen

%d bloggers like this: