Tacos are HOT—as in popular and spicy! Of course the spiciness can vary by how you make the tacos or what you consider spicy food, but did you know that naturally sweet raisins can temper the heat? The combination of heat, sweet and salt contributes to the want-another-bite sensation and heat tolerance of food. (Think about spicy tortilla chips—it’s hard to eat just one!)
I experienced this firsthand when I tested a recipe for Sun-Maid called Raisin Serrano Quesadillas. The recipe was entered in a contest Sun-Maid held several years ago, and is still a favorite of mine. The tortillas are stuffed with serrano chilies cooked with soy sauce and raisins, and then melted with Monterey Jack cheese. The cheese helps quell some heat and after I took my first bite, I thought it was the best quesadilla I’ve ever had!
So I used the idea of spicy plus raisins for these Super Simple Turkey Tacos with just 6 main ingredients. To make, choose your favorite brand of (1) fire-roasted canned tomatoes or tomatoes with chilies (some are hotter than others), add it to browned ground turkey (2) with onion (3), cumin (4) and raisins (5), then wrap in a tortilla (6). That’s it! If you happen to choose a less spicy canned tomato brand you can always add hot sauce or salsa for those who like it hot, or serve it mild because some people just can’t take the heat! Like my husband who likes mild, and has even filed this recipe as one of only two recipes he’ll cook. (Seriously. His second recipe is cheesy noodle casserole—which if we add raisins would be a Noodle Kugel!)
These are other examples of spicy-sweet-savory raisin recipes with Sun-Maid Raisins: Chicken in Sweet and Zesty Raisin Sauce and Picadillo Wraps. (Picadillo is a Latin dish typically made with ground meat and tomatoes and sometimes raisins, depending on the region.)
PS—if you need to rescue a dish or a sauce that’s too spicy, like a curry or chili, add raisins! And maybe a spoonful of sugar or honey, but just a teensy bit and taste as you add so as not overdo the sweet.
Super Simple Turkey Tacos with Raisins
Naturally sweet raisins help temper the heat of fire-roasted canned tomatoes plus a fun flavor twist to regular tacos. This meal can be ready to eat in just 15 minutes.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can (15 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes or tomatoes with chilies
1/4 cup raisins
8 7-inch corn or flour tortillas, or crisp taco shells
Shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
BROWN meat and onion in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin and stir 1 minute to lightly toast the cumin.
ADD tomatoes and raisins; cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt if desired.
WARM tortillas in microwave or dry skillet for a few seconds and fill with meat. Serve with lettuce and cheese.
Rosemary Mark remembers the day her kindergarten teacher said, “Rosemary, you need to play somewhere other than the kitchen or the grocery store, how about the playground.” Five year-old Rosemary was devastated, but only for the day. After studying foods and nutrition in college, she made the kitchen her playground for recipe development and new product innovation. She blogs at www.getcookingsimply.com.