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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
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:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
12 six-inch corn tortillas or 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Dice the small onion, which should yield about 2/3-cup. Peel 3 cloves of garlic.
- Preheat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Sauté the diced onion for 4 minutes, stirring as necessary.
- Meanwhile measure out and combine all dried spices into a small cup.
- When onions are ready, press garlic directly into skillet and add spice mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute to bloom flavors.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place in serving bowl and pass toppings separately.
Grates cheese, queso fresco or feta cheese
Fresh chopped cilantro leaves