Refried Beans in Home Baked Taco Bowls

Call me crazy, but on one of the hottest days of the year I decided to turn my kitchen into a baking test zone. The occasion was prompted by ingenious ideas floating around the internet instructing cooks on how to make their own homemade taco bowls or shells from corn tortillas. I very much enjoy tacos rolled up in soft tortillas, especially as they are so easy to put together with your favorite filling, but this time around I wanted a hard-shell taco and I was surprised how easy they are to prepare at home after just a little practice.

homemade taco shells

I was particularly smitten with the idea of using the underside of a muffin tin to shape your corn tortillas into bowls before baking them. True, I did not make my own corn tortillas from scratch (next time) but I did use fresh ones from a local market. You will find that there really is no comparison with the salty and stale prepackaged ones found in the kits that are available at large grocery stores, and there's no need to worry about opening up the box to find a bunch of broken shells and crumbs. You can be sure these will impress your friends and family, and with a little patience you will not believe how easy they are to make.

homemade taco bowls

Home Baked Taco BowlsHome Baked Taco Bowls
Recipe by
Cuisine: Mexican
Published on August 6, 2012

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What you will need:
  • heavy-bottomed skillet
  • 12-cup non-stick muffin tin
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 6-inch corn tortillas
Instructions:
  • Preheat an oven to 375°. Turn the muffin tin upside down and lightly brush the bottom with olive oil.

  • taco shells muffin tinHeat a dry skillet over medium heat and warm a tortilla until softened, about 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Lightly brush each side of the tortilla with oil and sprinkle with a bit of spice if desired. Center the tortilla between four muffin cups and gently shape into bowl shapes. Repeat. You will be able to fit three tortillas on the tin.

  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to brown and crisp up. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before taking them out of the tin.

  • Repeat this process until you have as many taco bowls as needed. They will keep for a few days stored in an air-tight container, although they are best when made the same day.

taco bowls stacked
  • An alternative method is to steam the tortillas in a vegetable or rice steamer for a few minutes before brushing them with oil and shaping into bowls. A second alternative is putting the tortillas between two microwave-safe plates and microwaving on high for 1 minute.

  • Note: I also tried this method using corn and flour tortillas as they are much more pliable and easy to work with than the corn tortillas, and don't require warming beforehand. I found the corn tortillas make a far superior taco bowl, more closely resembling what most of us would think of as the "proper" crunchy taco shell texture. You do have to be more careful with the corn tortillas because they tear easily if you are not gentle enough when shaping them into bowls. If you decide to use corn and flour tortillas, make them right before using so that they don't end up chewy and tough.

tacos with refried beans

Serving possibilities are as endless as the imagination of the cook. For my taco dinner I made up a batch of my famous spicy vegetarian refried beans, lined the bowls with some thinly sliced Belgian endive — you could use lettuce — and then scooped in a generous amount of the beans and topped them with grated extra old Cheddar cheese. Just pop under the broiler until the cheese is just melted, transfer to a plate, top with some fresh spicy salsa or sour cream and sprinkle with some chili powder or paprika, and serve with a side of fresh cooked brown rice and some salad greens.

tacos with homemade refried beans

More ways to make your own taco shells at home:
Mini taco bowls made with muffin tins
Hard taco shells baked on oven racks
Taco bowls made with canning jars
Fried taco shells

tacos

1 comment:

Johanna GGG said...

I've seen this idea around the webs - glad it worked for you - and I love your notes that sound really helpful - hope I can try these one day (though not in soaring temperatures)