The other day I was down in our little dungeon of a gym, attempting to not make myself not so weak. When I’m down there I usually put the TV on some sort of cooking show as background noise because sometimes there are some great ideas that pop up. This last time I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Made” and Susan Feniger came on to talk about these tacos she makes at Border Grill. In her always happy and smiling way (I like her a lot as a person and chef) she starts talking about all the things that goes into these tacos. The first step was deep frying some potatoes after having soaked them in cold water to get rid of some of the starches. The next step was the pepper mixture. She roasted some red bell peppers and poblanos peppers, then peeled and sautéd with onion. Once the onions were tender, she added in heavy cream and 3 different types of cheeses —- See where this is going?
Once that was done, she took some corn tortillas and dipped them in hot oil to make them more pliable. Then she stuffed them with the potatoes and pepper mixture. She rolled them up, put a tooth pick in them and threw them in a deep fryer. Once removed, she topped them with a chipotle crema, guacamole and a corn relish. I mean, how could one not like something cooked that way – vegetarian or not!
What grabbed my attention though, was the flavor profiles she had going on with these potato tacos. The roasted peppers that were both sweet and hot. The smokiness of the chipotle peppers in the cream. The freshness of a corn salad. It was all brilliant. I decided right then that I was going to have to come up with a similar vegetarian potato taco recipe that would mimic her potato rajas tacos, but with a fraction of the fat.
My mission was not to bastardize her recipe, but just tweak a few things to save some time, fat and calories.
For starters, I used a 50/50 mix of sweet potatoes and Idaho potatoes. I didn’t fry them, but roasted them on a high temperature for crispiness. I used half n half for the pepper mixture and only one kind of cheese. I added chipotle to the pepper mixture instead of making another sauce. This way I ended up with a similar flavor profile, but not the extra step or calories. I still topped them with guacamole and corn but omitted frying the tortillas and then the whole taco too.
I nailed it! This is quite possibly the greatest vegetarian taco recipe I’ve ever made or had. It’s filling. It’s rich. It’s got a thousand things going on in your mouth and they all work together perfectly.
Vegetarian or not, everyone needs to try this lightened up version of Susan Feniger’s potato rajas recipe.
Related Recipe: Sweet Potato and Egg Taco
Lightened Up Potato Rajas Taco
- 1 medium Idaho potato
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 medium poblano pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1 - 2 chipotle peppers and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1/2 cup of half n half
- 1/3 cup grated monterey cheese
- Olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 small jalapeno
- 1 shallot or a couple tablespoon red onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 ear of corn
- 2-3 tablespoons red wine viengar
- 1 scallion
- Make the guacamole and set aside.
- Get your oven going to 400F. Dice the potatoes, toss with some olive oil and salt. Throw in the oven once it's heated. The potatoes should take 20 minutes at most
- Corn: You are going to put the corn in with the potatoes but for only 10 minutes before removing.
- You've got a couple options for the peppers: You can either thrown them on your stove tops if it's gas. You could throw them on the grill after removing the racks so they burn faster. The final way would be to put them under the broiler. If that all you have, do the peppers first. You just have to rub oil on them no matter which way you go.
- Once they are blistered and black, place in a bag for a couple minutes so that the skin loosens.
- While they are in the bag, heat a large skillet to medium heat with some olive oil, quickly slice the onions and thrown in there. Season with a touch of salt and sauté. Head back over to the peppers and peel them with the back of your knife. Dn't run water over them because you'll lose flavor. Once peeled and seeded, cut in strips and throw in with the onions. Sauté for a few more minutes. Now add in the half n half, monterey jack cheese, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. It'll start to thicken. Turn off heat.
- Make the corn relish by adding all the ingredients together. Taste.
- Check on the potatoes. IF the potatoes are done, just turn off the heat so they stay warm.
- Reheat the pepper mixture, taste, adjust seasonings and let thicken while it's reheating.
- Ok - so the the potatoes should be done, the corn relish is done, the peppers are thick and creamy - it's time to plate. Put a layer of creamy peppers on the tortilla, then potatoes, guacamole and finish with some corn and chopped cilantro.
- Either corn or flour tortillas are fine with these tacos.
Balanced, High Fiber, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Pork Free, Red Meat Free, Crustacean Free, Celery Free, Mustard Free, Sesame Free, Lupine Free, Mollusk Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added, Kosher