Who doesn’t love a good taco. These days they are all the rage as taquerias keep popping up everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes to satisfy any appetite. But have you ever wondered where tacos come from? I certainly have and so I decided to find out.
The origin of tacos is more or less unknown and potentially dates back to the 18th century and the silver mines in Mexico. According to, a historian writer at the Smithsonian, in those Mexican sliver mines the word “taco” referred to the little charges they would use to excavate the ore. These were pieces of paper that they would wrap around gunpowder and insert into the holes they carved in the rock face. The first references to the taco in any sort of archive or dictionary didn’t come about until the end of the 19th century. And one of the first types of tacos described is called a miner’s tacos. Fascinating right?!
Happy childhood memories involved eating Old El Paso Tacos. While these taco kits are still available for those who prefer to keep it simple, more adventurous palates delve into beef tongue, lamb neck and octopus tacos available right here in Calgary. I admittedly love tacos and enjoy trying new varieties.
For this recipe I had a squash craving and bacon to use up. It can be kept entirely vegetarian by omitting the bacon and bacon fast used to cook the beans and gave the tacos an extra hit of flavour. But
- 3 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes (3/4 inch)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- salt and black pepper
- ½ cup bacon, chopped small
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 540 ml can black beans, drained
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ cup stock
- ½ cup green lentils cooked
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp chipotle in adobe, chopped fine
- 2 tsp lime juice
- cilantro sprigs
- 10 flour tortillas warmed
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl mix together squash olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Spread onto baking sheet and roast until browned around the edges about 30 minutes. Stir half way through. Remove and set aside.
- Add your bacon to a pot and saute until browned. Remove with slotted spoon leaving fat in pan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper cooking for 2 minutes. Pour in beans and broth. Bring to a boil and drop to a low simmer. Cook about 15 minutes. Season as needed. Set aside.
- To make chipotle sauce, add sour cream, chipotle, lime juice and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Stir until blended. Set aside in fridge until ready to use.
- Heat a sauce pan over high heat. Using tongs add one flour tortilla at a time flipping after 30 seconds. This will heat and blister your tortillas. Continue until all done.
- To assemble tacos: fill tortillas with a couple small sprigs of cilantro, roasted squash, beans and a sprinkle of cooked lentils. Sprinkle on a little bacon, drizzle on chipotle sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and serve.
Substitute spinach or flat leaf parsley if you do not like the taste of cilantro.
Follow instructions on your dried lentils bag to cook them and have them ready to go.