Our road trip has taken us up the West Coast, through the Pacific Northwest, across western Canada, and down through the Rockies. And now we enter the American Southwest—a land filled with vermillion cliffs, giant saguaro cacti, and bouncing tumbleweeds. But while we’re looking forward to experiencing the desert, we might be even more excited about experiencing the food. Of all the places we’ve traveled to so far, few have such a distinct and flavorful cuisine as the Southwest. This is Taco Country, and we’re planning to eat our fill.
Our first stop in Arizona was to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where we cooked up this recipe for Sweet Potato & Green Chile Tacos. After a long day exploring the cactus-covered park, this was the perfect meal to come back to. The sweet from the potatoes and spicy from the chiles play perfectly against a smoky spread of New Mexico chili-flavored black beans. (We know black beans don’t typically go into tacos, but this being our first stop, we got a little carried away. Please forgive us.)
We aren’t really sticklers for rules (see above), but we will insist you use corn tortillas for this recipe. One of the simplest ways to elevate your taco experience is to toast the tortillas. It’s super easy and so worth it. Flour tortillas can work, of course, but they would need to be done in a pan. Corn tortillas, on the other hand, can be toasted directly on the burner or on a fire ring grate. Not only does this warm them up, but it gives them beautiful charred grill marks. So grab a pair of tongs and get flipping.
“While there probably isn’t anything better than eating a taco and watching the sun set over a field of saguaro cacti, the taco is a transcendent food and can be enjoyed in just about any setting.”
While there probably isn’t anything better than eating a taco and watching the sun set over a field of saguaro cacti, the taco is a transcendent food and can be enjoyed in just about any setting. So next time you’re out camping or at home, try taking a bite out of the American Southwest with these sweet and spicy tacos.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the chiles, cumin, and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the potatoes and chiles are cooked through and tender.
In the meantime, prepare the black beans. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pot. Add the onion and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beans, lime juice, New Mexican chili powder, and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes until the beans are heated through and the taco filling is done.
To assemble, heat the corn tortillas on a stove burner or over your campfire. Spoon a scoop of beans into the middle of the tortilla, add a scoop of the potatoes and chiles, and top with whatever additional fixings you’d like!
Sweet Potato & Green Chile Tacos
Potatoes & Chiles
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled (optional) and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cumin
salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil
½ small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon New Mexican chili powder
salt to taste
6 corn tortillas
½ red onion, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, etc.