Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Beef Taco Skillet

Happy new year, and best wishes for a prosperous 2008 to one and all. One of my resolutions for the year is to update this blog more often. (I know, you’re saying, “Could you possibly set the bar any lower, Amy?”) My apologies for my lackadaisical performance. Especially since the recipes show no sign of going away.

I came across this recipe for Beef Taco Skillet in the latest issue of Everyday Food. I could hardly have been more surprised if you had smacked me in the face with a flounder. Everyday Food is a Martha Stewart magazine, and its offerings are usually a lot better than this one. Of course, Beef Taco Skillet is not a recipe from the magazine; it’s from an ad for Campbell’s Soup. I suppose the editors can’t be too strict about what they accept from their advertisers, or they wouldn’t be able to run ads for much more than olive oil and Quaker Oats.

I love Everyday Food. The recipes are all winners, not just in appearance and flavor but in ease of preparation. All throughout the magazine you see beautiful images of fish with chunks of avocadoes, chicken with matchstick peppers and cucumbers, and steamed red potatoes with thyme. In this context, Beef Taco Skillet looks like a pan of Hamburger Helper sneaking in under the radar:

Not too encouraging, is it? Now I must confess that I am a snob about cooking with canned soup. I just don’t do it. When I eat canned soup I prefer Progresso or a number of organic varieties to Campbell’s condensed, but more often I make my own from scratch, which requires more time than skill. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, and I don’t remember ever thinking, “wouldn’t this be yummy with hamburger and wilted tortillas?”

If you want a Mexican-style skillet supper, my recommendation would be to skip the soup, double the salsa (a good fresh pico de gallo rather than a jarred variety), throw in some chopped peppers and onions, and serve the tortillas whole and warmed on the side for dipping and wrapping, Or you could use good corn chips. They can’t be any saltier than the soup would have been.

Beef Taco Skillet
Campbell’s make in minutes
Prep: 5 min. Cook: 20 min.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Campbell’s Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
½ cup salsa
½ cup water
6 flour tortillas (6 inches), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Cook beef in 10-inch skillet until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat.
2. Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 min. Stir. Top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Mexican Fiesta: Stir in ½ cup sour cream with soup.
Ranchero Style: Use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas and shredded Mexican cheese blend instead of Cheddar.

From Campbell’s Soup ad in Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2008.