Marie here again today, with a fabulous supper dish that your family is sure to enjoy. Cheesy Taco Puffs. All the flavours of your favourite Tacos tucked into a biscuit dough pastry along with plenty of cheese for that goo-factor!
These are great for suppers served up hot with bowls of your favourite soup, or simply with a fresh salad on the side. They are also great as snacks or tucked into lunch boxes.
Mixing That Taco Filling
You begin by making a delicious Taco Meat Filling.
You could of course use a packet of ready-made Taco seasoning, but I prefer to make up my own seasoning mix. That way I know exactly what is in it without using any preservatives or chemicals.
I use a mix of mild chili powder, sweet paprika, garlic and onion powders, dried oregano, ground cumin and salt and pepper to taste. The amounts given are perfect for seasoning one pound of ground steak.
I buy my ground steak at the local butchers. I choose a piece of steak and he grinds it right there for me while I wait.
Did you know that when you pick up a packet of minced/ground meat at the grocery store it is possible that the meat you are buying might contain meat from several different animals. I don’t like the idea of that. I like to know that the meat I am using has come from the same animal. This is a personal preference I know, but that is why I prefer to go to my butcher and have him grind up a piece of steak right in front of me.
In addition to that you will need a medium onion, peeled and finely minced.
When chopping your onions be sure to tuck in your fingertips for safety. I also cut my onions in half through the middle lengthwise and then peel. Cutting them in half that way provides me with a flat surface that grips onto the cutting board and helps to prevent the onion from slipping or rolling around beneath my knife. I like my knives to be fairly sharp, so making sure that the food I am chopping stays in place is a real safety measure!
Cooking the Meat Mixture
You will want to use a large non-stick skillet for the filling. You can either spray it with a low-fat cooking spray or use a tiny bit of oil. Minced steak is really quite lean, so you will need a bit of fat to keep it from sticking to the pan, even when using one that is non-stick.
Heat the skillet over moderate to high heat and then crumble the beef into the skillet along with the onions. Scramble fry the beef and onions, stirring frequently until the onions begin to soften. It is then that you can add all of those lovely spices and seasonings, continuing to stir and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. I like to add a few tablespoons of water as I go along at this point, which helps to keep the meat from drying out too much.
You want it to be moist without being wet. You don’t want it to be too dry either, so a few tablespoons of water as you are cooking goes a long way towards creating the perfect texture for the filling. Once it is cooked you must set it aside to cool before proceeding.
Taking Care of the Cheese
Time to grate your cheese now and make the biscuit dough to hold all of that tasty filling. I like to grate my own cheese. For these I use a strong cheddar for lots of flavour and grate it on the large holes of my box grater. You could use a medium cheddar if you like or even a Monterey Jack, maybe even a Pepper-Jack if you want them to be really spicy.
You can use pre-grated cheese as a time saver but do bear in mind that they add things to the cheese when they pre-grate it to help it flow easier. I prefer to grate my own. It doesn’t take long to do, and I know exactly what is in it.
Now that you have all the filling ingredients prepared, it is time to make the dough. You can use cans of ready-made biscuit dough if you wish, but I like to make my own from scratch.
I much prefer the flavour of them over that of a ready-made dough, and its not really all that hard to do.
Sift your flour and baking powder into a large bowl, along with the salt and sugar and drop in the shortening.
You can use either a pastry blender to cut the fat into the flour or two round-bladed knives, making a cutting motion with them. I like a pastry blender myself.
You want to cut in the fat just until you have a mixture which resembles coarse breadcrumbs. It is then that you can stir in your milk.
I use a fork for this, making a hollow space in the middle of my dry ingredients and adding the milk a bit at a time, incorporating more dry ingredients as I stir with the fork until I have added all the milk and created a soft dough.
You will want it to look a bit shaggy like this, but evenly moist.
I then tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it a few times before rolling or patting it out to the size that I need.
Preparing the Puffs
For these you will need a six-inch round cutter and your dough should be approximately ¼ of an inch thick. For six Taco Puffs, you will need to stamp out twelve rounds, six for the bottoms and six for the tops. You may have to gather your scraps together, knead and re-roll to get the number of rounds you need.
Brush the edges of half of the biscuit rounds with some milk and then divide the taco meat and cheese amongst them, leaving the edges free so that you can seal them perfectly shut. You don’t want any of that tasty filling leaking out onto the baking sheet.
Once you have the filling in place on all of them, you can place the top rounds of dough over the filling to cover it completely.
You may need to make the top rounds stretch out a bit thinner to make sure that you can completely cover the filling.
Just use your hands to do this, stretching it slightly and then pressing them with a fork all the way around to seal the filling in completely.
Baking the Taco Puffs
Once you have them all filled, sealed, and placed onto a lined baking sheet you can brush them with a bit more milk and sprinkle them with some sesame seeds if you wish. All you need to do now is to bake them in a fairly hot oven!
Fifteen or so minutes later you will be rewarded with perfectly baked Cheesy Taco Puffs! Crisp and golden biscuit pastry, encasing a delicious spicy filling, with plenty of rich cheese!
I can’t think of anyone who would turn their nose up at these, can you? Happy baking! (And eating!)
Cheesy Taco Puffs Recipe
These are fabulous served for dinner, along with a bowl of soup or a salad, or stuffed into lunch boxes. Quick, easy and delicious.
- 1-pound lean ground beef steak
- Low fat cooking spray
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp mild chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp onion powder (not salt)
- Fine sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups of shredded strong cheddar cheese
For the dough:
- 2 cups plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBS sugar
- ½ cup of vegetable shortening
- 2/3 cup of milk
You will also need:
- A bit of milk to brush the edges of the puffs with and to brush on the surface prior to baking
- Some sesame seeds to sprinkle (optional)
- Spray a large skillet with low-fat cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the ground steak and minced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften. Add all of the herbs and spices along with a few tablespoons of water to moisten.
- Cook, stirring until the beef is thoroughly cooked through and no pink remains and has browned a bit. Set aside to cool completely while you make the biscuit dough.
- To make the biscuit dough sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the sugar and salt. Cut in the vegetable shortening, using a pastry blender, or two round bladed knives until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Using a fork, stir in just enough of the milk to give you a soft dough that is not too sticky.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or pat out to the thickness of roughly 1/4 of an inch.
- Cut out 12 rounds using a 6-inch round cutter. You may need to gather the scraps together, kneading gently and re-patting out in order to get the 12 rounds.
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place 6 of the biscuit rounds evenly spaced on top of the baking sheet.
- Divide the cooled meat mixture between the six rounds, leaving a bare edge all the way around each. Brush the edges lightly with milk. Top each with 1/6 of the grated cheese.
- Place another biscuit round on top, pressing the edges together with the tines of a fork to seal.
- Brush the tops with a bit of the egg wash and then cut a tiny slit into the top of each to vent.
- Bake in a 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Complete Steps in Pictures
Check out some of my other recipes:
Marie Rayner is a Canadian, who moved over to the UK and began a new life in the year 2000. At the age of 45 she decided she needed a career change and went back to College to take a Chef’s course, after which she worked as a Personel Chef for a number of years.