Note: With both Taco Bell locations in central Portland closed, the middle of Portland is a FourthMeal desert. Nick Zukin of Mi Mero Mole has dutifully offered his own renditions of Abuela Bell's classic frankentacos. Below, are the recipes for making them at home. Or, you can ask for the Quesarito off Mi Mero Mole's new secret menu, and they'll make it with one of MMM's house moles.
Rebuilding the Bell with Nick Zukin:
Seasoned Ground Beef
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup canned diced fire roasted tomatoes, including liquid in the can
2 canned chipotles in adobo
Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add the oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the ground beef, breaking it down with a spatula, as it cooks, until it is no longer pink. Add the garlic and mix into the ground beef, cooking only until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add the cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg and clove. Stir into the meat and continue stirring until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Puree the tomatoes and chipotles together in a blender until smooth. Add water if necessary to let it blend. Add the mixture to the ground beef and cook until mostly dry, stirring occasionally while continuing to break down the ground beef into small chunks. Add salt to taste. Set aside when finished to use in your Taco Bell recreations.
Two large 12" or 14" flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (or Queso Oaxaca)
1/2 cup shredded Mexican parmesan
3/4 cup cooked Mexican rice, still hot
3/4 cup seasoned ground beef, still hot
Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Take one of the tortillas and heat it on the skillet until brown spots start to show on the bottom. Flip it over and continue until it is softened and perhaps puffs up. Set it aside. Put the other tortilla on the griddle and heat it until brown spots start to appear on the bottom. Turn it over and add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the parmesan, evenly spread over the tortilla. Cook until the cheese starts to melt and then add the other tortilla to the top of the cheese. Flip over the tortilla and cook until all the cheese appears to be melted.
Remove the the tortillas with the melted cheese from the skillet and add the rice, then meat, then remaining cheese in a rectangular shape to the middle of the tortilla. Wrap up the burrito by folding the sides in over the filling, then taking the end closest to you and folding it over the filling until snug. Then roll the wrapped filling over and continue rolling, tucking in the sides, until the entire burrito is wrapped. Serve flap-side down. If the burrito isn't browned on the outside, you can cook it on the griddle more. Just make sure to start by cooking it flap-side down to seal it shut. Then turn it over once browned to finish it.
If you can't keep the rice and meat hot, microwave them right before making the burrito.
1 large 14" flour tortilla
1/4 cup Mexican rice, still hot
1/2 cup seasoned ground beef
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (or Queso Oaxaca)
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
3 tablespoons Mexican sour cream
Heat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat. Place the tortilla in the skillet and cook the on both sides until soft and warm. Remove the tortilla from the heat and add the rice, cheese and ground beef in a circle the size of the tostada or slightly larger in the center of the tortilla. Place the tostada on top of the mixture, then the lettuce and the tomato, drizzling the sour cream evenly over the lettuce and tomato.
Take one end of the tortilla and fold it to the center. Take the corner to the right created by the first fold and fold it to the center. Continue around the tortilla, folding the new right corner until the all corners are folded into the center.
Place the Crunchwrap folds-side down on the griddle and cook until browned and the folds don't easily open. Turn it over and cook on the other side until browned.
Cheesy Gordita Crunch
Oil for frying
One corn tortilla
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella (or Queso Oaxaca)
One 7" flour tortilla, extra thick if available
1/2 cup seasoned ground beef, still hot
1 tablespoon parmesan
1/4 cup fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 cup lettuce, chopped
2 tablespoons Mexican sour cream
Heat a quarter-inch pool of oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water pops and sizzles when dropped into the oil. Add the corn tortilla and heat on each side in the oil until it bends easily. Fold over the tortilla so that it makes a half-moon shape and cook until the bottom side is mostly crisp and golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side until it is done the same. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and spread out into a thin, round layer about the size of the corn tortilla. It will melt and then bubble continuously, browning around the edges and then finally browning underneath. When it reaches an earthy brown, use a spatula to loosen it and flip it over. Cook until light golden brown on the other side. Remove from the pan. Take the crisp corn tortilla and fold the cheese tortilla over the corn tortilla. It should firm and crisp as it cools as well.
Heat a skillet on medium-high. Add the flour tortilla to it and cook until it begins to brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook until the other side begins to brown. Remove from the heat.
Put the cheese-wrapped corn tortilla inside the flour tortilla. Add the ground beef inside the crisp corn tortilla, then the remaining cheese, then the lettuce and tomato. Drizzle the sour cream over the top of the lettuce and tomato.