July 24, 2016

The following recipe was given to me years ago by a listener who claimed he used to make them at the Holly Inn according to this recipe. Over the years a few listeners have tried to make it, not without some problems.
Recently, another listener, Mark W., who has lots of cooking experience in restaurants, and is familiar with the original Tacorito, decided to take a swing at it. The recipe he came up with is considerably easier to make, and he swears it's just as he remember the originals. Having said that, the following recipe is the original one that we've published all these years. It's followed by Mark's recipe.

Original Recipe

Filling 2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped fine

Sauce (Make the day before)
1 1/2 C lard
3 1/8 C flour
¾ pound cooked sausage
1 C canned Chili Caribe
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
½ gallon boiling water

In a large, heavy pan melt the lard.
Add the flour, mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add sausage, chili, garlic powder, and chili powder, and salt to taste. Mix and add ½ gallon boiling water. Stir until sauce is thick. Store in refrigerator. May be frozen. When ready to use, add small amounts of water to the sauce to obtain the consistence you want.

Making the Tacoritos:
Using flour tortillas, add filling, shredded lettuce, grated cheese (type of cheese not specified). Fold and roll tortilla, place on serving plate. Top with hot Tacorito sauce, shredded cheese. Place in hot oven until cheese melts. Remove from the oven and add more shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and chopped onions.


Mark W's Recipe for the Tacorito
Makes 4 - 5

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 C. Lard (not shortening)
3/4 C. all-purpose Flour
4 oz. Pork Sausage
8 oz. can Chili Caribe or Mild Enchilada Sauce, Las Palmas brand
1 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
5 C. boiling Water

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 med white Onion, chopped
1 lb. Ground Beef

Tacorito Assembly:
4 - 5 medium size Flour Tortillas
2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 C. shredded iceberg Lettuce
Sour cream

Sauce Prep: In large skillet, brown sausage, mash into small pieces no larger than 1/4" in size, remove and set aside. Do not drain grease. In same pan add lard and melt. Slowly add flour constantly stirring. This will form a lump or mound, press flat and cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes to blend flour into a roux.
Add back into pan: Sausage, Chili Caribe/Enchilada sauce, Garlic powder, Chili powder, Salt and Pepper. Mix Well. Add boiling water, stir and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Sauce should be somewhat thin, the consistency of brown gravy or a little thinner. Sauce is now ready for use on Tacorito.
Sauce can be stored up to 5 days in refrigerator or allow to cool and freeze for up to 6 months.
If necessary, thin sauce with a little water before microwaving to reheat.

Filling Prep: Place chopped onion in skillet and cook until tender or translucent, then add ground beef and brown. Drain fat.

Tacorito Assembly: Pre-Heat Oven to 400 degrees. Place tortilla on large oven proof plate. Add 1/4 to 1/5 of the beef mixture, depending on finished size desired. Add generous amount of cheese to cover meat, add shredded lettuce to cover cheese. Roll burrito and tuck both ends so burrito stays closed. Cover with plenty of sauce, surrounding plate should also have a thin layer of sauce. Cover with more cheese and place in the pre-heated oven until cheese is melted, about 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add lettuce and dollop of sour cream. Tomato and onion if desired. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Tips: The lard and flour form a simple roux. It should be allowed to cook over low to medium heat for several minutes to cook the flour taste out. In the finished sauce the lard taste should be noticeable, but faint. Thin sauce with additional water if lard flavor is too strong. Allow the meat filling to cool completely before refrigerating, otherwise an unpleasant taste may develop.

I myself used to visit the Holly restaurants often (where this dish originated). I do not recall onions on the top of the Tacorito and I do remember that the sauce was about the thickness of a thin gravy. I am not aware of a specific Chili Caribe ’sauce’, however in the online recipe I first used to recreate this dish it called for a Mild Enchilada Sauce. I have used this and the flavor came out just as I remember it from the Holly restaurants, however, only a MILD Enchilada sauce should be used to produce the authentic and original flavor. Brands other than the Las Palmas may work too, but I have not tried them.

Depending on preference, the meat filling may be seasoned with either Burrito seasoning, or with 1 tsp. Salt, 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. Black pepper and 2 Tbsp. Chili powder. Add these when beef is browned and drained, plus 3/4 C. water. Cook until almost dry, about 20 min. It is important to be sure the sausage is mashed or crumbled into small pieces so that a strong pork sausage flavor is not present.

When assembling, be sure to first place cheese over meat, then the lettuce above that. If lettuce is placed over beef first it may become soggy. Plates will be hot! Place a second cool plate under hot plate to avoid burns!

Reheating Tips: Place desired amount of sauce in microwave safe container, such as a drinking glass, then add a tablespoon of water and heat until barley hot. Stir and set aside. On microwave safe plate, place tortilla and desired amount of beef filling in center, heat for 40 seconds, then add cheese and lettuce and roll into burrito. Pour heated sauce on top followed by generous amount of cheese. Then place dish in microwave and heat until cheese is melted. Again, plate may be hot!

Mark W.