Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cielito Lindo (Puerto Rican Taco Salad/Dip)

Cielito Lindo
From: gardentraveler

One of the benefits of having had a Puerto Rican roommate for a number of years is that I have several authentic Puerto Rican recipes. This is one that there are lots of variations on. It's very popular at work. The fresh stuff makes it seem almost healthy. The original only has sour cream. I mix half sour cream and half fat-free ricotta and it works really well.

To make it really Puerto Rican, you want to start with some sofrito, then brown the ground beef and add some sazón and/or adobo as well as the taco seasoning to the ground beef. You can find sazón with Hispanic groceries (it's a premixed blend of spices; be forewarned: it often includes MSG). Sofrito is a puree of onion, peppers, garlic and herbs. I buy it frozen. Goya is a good brand for either of these. Other variations are to add a layer of refried beans and/or a layer of guacamole. Anyhoo, this is a party-sized version. You can scale it back to fit the size of the group you need to feed. I tend to make it a little bit different every time.

This fills two large disposable aluminum trays (maybe 13" x 15" each).

2 lbs ground beef
1 package Old El Paso taco seasoning
2 16 oz.containers sour cream
2 15 oz. containers ricotta cheese
3 c grated cheese - cheddar, Monterey Jack, any kind you like
1 16 oz bottle salsa (La Victoria - salsa suprema, mild)
1 7 oz.can Herdez salsa casera (You can substitute any bottled/canned salsa that you like.)
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped onions or scallions
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
3 cups chopped romaine Lettuce

Brown ground beef (with sofrito, if desired). Add taco seasoning (and optional sazón). Let cool. Drain excess liquid.
Mix sour cream and ricotta together and set aside.
Combine salsas and set aside.
Combine chopped tomato, onion and cilantro, and set aside.

Spread sour cream mixture in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with ground beef. Sprinkle 2 1/2 cups of cheese over beef. Add layer of salsa, then lettuce, then fresh tomato salsa. Sprinkle last 1/2 c of cheese on top.

Serve this with your favorite corn chips.

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