Juan in a Million Tacos
When I was in Austin for SXSW last month, I got to spend some time with one of my best friends from high school who I haven’t seen in years. He’s living in Austin now playing in a fun band with maybe the best band name ever:
I was able to check out one of their shows and they really do jamme. After the show, my friend and I drank all the beer in Austin.
Ok. Not really. But pretty close. We drank enough that I didn’t want another beer for at least 8 hours, which is the maximum amount of time you’re allowed to go between beers at South By Southwest.
The morning after I was in quite the haze and Stew said, “Don’t worry man. We’ll get some breakfast tacos.”
He quickly corrected himself, “Well, we’ll get one taco each.”
I laughed. One taco? I figured I’d house at least three.
But when the nice server at Juan in a Million brought my single taco out, I knew I’d have a rough time finishing it. It was a huge mound of potatoes, eggs, bacon, and cheese piled high on a single tortilla. It must have weighed three pounds.
I figured everyone should know how to make such a thing so I did my best to recreate it.
1) Peel and cube potatoes. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes until potatoes are soft, but still slightly firm. Drain and set aside for later.
2) Dice up bacon, an onion, and grate some cheese.
3) For the taco seasoning, grind all ingredients in a spice grinder.
4) Start tacos by adding bacon to a large skillet or griddle. Cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy and most of the fat is rendered out. Pour off bacon grease, but leave about 2 Tablespoons.
5) Add onions, potatoes, and taco seasoning to pan. Cook until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
6) Add eggs and cheese and stir vigorously to distribute the eggs as they cook.
7) Serve with warm tortillas and salsa!
The backbone of these tacos is actually potatoes. I loved this about this dish because you get all your main breakfast food groups piled high in one big mess. I’m not entirely sure how they prepare their potatoes at Juan’s, but I peeled mine, diced them into cubes, and then blanched them in salted boiling water for about 4-5 minutes.
You want them soft, but not mashed potatoes soft. Once they come out of the water, set them aside for later.
I’m sure you could not blanch the potatoes, but I think the texture from blanching them is perfect.
Taco Seasoning. My friend told me that he once asked Juan what seasoning he puts on his tacos. Juan said that it was grill. The grill was seasoned with cooked in flavor.
I half believe that. But I also believe that he has a pretty amazing secret taco seasoning recipe.
I did my best to come up with something close with four common spices: cayenne, cumin, coriander and pepper flakes.
I just ground these up in a spice grinder and, I must say, it’s a pretty darn good taco seasoning!
Besides the potatoes, the eggs, and the tortillas, you’ll need these things also.
Cooking the tacos
Start the tacos by cooking your bacon pieces over medium heat until most of their fat is rendered out and they are getting nice and crunchy.
If you have a lot of fat in your pan, pour some out. You only need about 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease to finish the dish and you don’t want the tacos too greasy.
Next add the onions, potatoes and taco seasoning to the pan.
This will instantly smell delicious. Remember that the potatoes are already basically cooked so we just need to warm them up and brown them a bit.
Cook this for probably 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft and the potatoes are warm and coated evenly with the seasoning.
Next, add in your eggs and cheese and stir like crazy!
As the eggs cook and the cheese melts, you want to make sure they are evenly distributed throughout the taco mixture.
Taste the dish for salt and pepper but it probably won’t need much.
Then pile it high on a tortilla!
You can serve a few tortillas and fresh salsa on the side.
This is actually a pretty quick dish to throw together.
Unless you happen to live in Austin and can get to Juan’s for the original, you should give this a shot.