Once a week my husband wants to make tacos. He calls it, “Taco Night.” He pulls the ground turkey from the freezer to defrost it in the microwave and starts chopping up the tomato and avocado. I take over and dice a shallot and brown it along with the defrosted ground turkey in a frying pan. The famous taco-seasoning packet comes out and while I was opening it with scissors, I read the ingredients. Whoa?
I made an executive decision. Instead of using the packet of taco seasoning containing weird ingredients that I cannot pronounce: maltodextrin, hydrogenated soybean oil, yeast extract (what the hell is that?) Silicon Dioxide—anticaking agent, spice extractive (again, WTF) and ethoxyquin preservative. (And in the case of another brand I found in the drawer: potassium chloride and citric acid), I decided to compare.
I put ground cumin, ground cayenne, salt, chipotle chili powder, and San Antonio chili fiesta blend in a small bowl. I put the powder from the taco-seasoning packet into another small bowl.
I was astounded by the color of the pre-packaged seasoning’s color. It looked more like pumpkin powder—bright orange—than the rich deep browns of the chili powders I used. I added a finely minced shallot and crushed garlic—instead of garlic and onion powders that were in the packet.
I sautéed the shallot and garlic in oil and then browned the ground turkey in a fry pan. I added the seasoning and some chicken stock and simmered for a few minutes.
The flavor profile of the pre-packaged had a metallic undertone, while my mixture was smoky and slightly picante.
Taco night had a whole new meaning.