Our walking popcorn tacos are a riff on the popular walking tacos that are served in a small bag of Frito chips or Doritos chips. The original recipe calls for cooked ground beef and beans, well seasoned and spooned over a single serving size of the chips. Topped with cheese, chives, maybe some sour cream and handed to you with a fork. It’s delicious and we’re not taking anything away from Fritos or Doritos (because heaven knows, we enjoy eating both of those types of chips!). But, we’re just gonna say that popcorn is seriously good here, too.
The appeal of this recipe is the contrast between the well seasoned taco meat and the crunchy chips. Usually, though, the beef is piled on top of the chips and they can get soggy. We don’t dislike that texture but wanted to have both the slightly softened and the still crunchy. So we chose the best of both worlds. We piled the beef on top of some popcorn but also added more popcorn on top for that extra crunchy flavor. The cheese sauce, though, is what really makes it. Popcorn topped with cheese sauce with seasoned taco meat? Yes!
We’ll leave the heat level up to you. Choose a mild salsa or a super spicy one depending on how fiery your like things. As for serving, the fun part of a walking taco is that it’s spooned into a chip bag for easy portability. No problem here because we just made our own portable cones. And if you want to prep ahead but don’t want things to get soggy, just lay out the beef, cheese sauce and popcorn, buffet style and let everyone assemble their own cones.
Add the canola oil and diced onion to a large skillet or cast iron pan. Sauté on medium heat for a few minutes, stirring often, until the onions soften. Remove the onions to a separate dish and add the ground beef to the pan. Cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to break up the meat.
When the beef has browned, stir in the rinsed and drained beans along with the taco seasoning and salsa. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and ground pepper as needed. Remove from the heat.
While the mixture is cooking, make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a large skillet and stirring in the all-purpose flour. Cook on low heat for a couple of minutes until the flour is fully coated with the fat. Then, slowly whisk in the milk and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes until all the lumps are gone and the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the shredded cheese until melted and add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
To serve, place some popcorn in a bowl, a to-go container or a fun cone. Spoon some of the beef and bean mixture over the popcorn. Then top the beef with additional popcorn and pour on some of the cheese sauce. Top with fresh chopped scallions and enjoy.
Serving Size 1 cone of Walking Popcorn Tacos
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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