Chilli And Homemade Taco Shells

We made a really nice chilli on Saturday. Based on a Jamie Oliver Recipe from his America Book, we of course changed it a fair bit.

Chilli Recipe

As with most of Jamie’s recipes, and many recipes in general it was heavy on the meat, but had very few vegetables in it. In fact it only had onions and peppers in it. We like meat, but vegetables are better for you and quite a lot cheaper too. We did adhere to the recipe fairly well though and simply used about half of the meat that the recipe suggested but also added a couple of carrots, half a suede, a parsnip and a few stalks of celery. The meat we used was a lovely thick piece of beef skirt that just fell apart once it was cooked. We also cooked the whole thing slowly in the oven rather than on the hob which made it a little easier to manage.

We ate a third of it yesterday with rice, a lettuce and carrot salad, and topped with homemade yoghurt and it went down pretty well. I fancied something a little different today though and thought it would go well with some cornbread or inside homemade taco shells. I therefore decided to look up some recipes for taco shells.

Homemade Taco Shells Recipe

I found one recipe that looked quite promising but the comments seemed to suggest that it made something akin to a cornmeal crepe or pancake rather than a nice crispy taco shell. All of the other recipes that I found such as this one, or this one though were simply instructions on how to make flour tortillas crispy in the oven. They all start with a bought packet of flour tortilla wraps.

Now, as I’ve said before, I don’t call that a recipe. It’s simply buying a packet of wraps and baking them in the oven – I don’t even call that cooking! It did give me an idea though. I’d make the cornmeal pancakes as described in the first recipe and then drape them over a couple of bars of the oven shelf and bake them in the oven to make them crispy.

It worked perfectly. So, here’s what I did.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup coarse polenta
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 egg

Makes 6-8 taco shells


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC.
  2. Mix the ingredients in a large pan to form a runny batter.
  3. Heat a large skillet or pancake pan over a medium to high heat.
  4. Spoon a ladle full of the pancake batter into the pan and quickly swirl it around to form a nice thin circle of batter.
  5. Fry each side for 90 seconds then remove from the pan and fry the next one.
  6. When all of the pancakes have been fried drape them over two bars of an oven shelf and bake for around 12 minutes.
  7. Remove the now crispy and perfectly shaped taco shells from the oven and fill with your favourite fillings.

Once the cornmeal pancakes were baked in the oven they came out crispy, especially around the edges and the perfect shape for taco shells.

You’ll have to use your imagination here as they didn’t hang around long enough to be photographed, but the golden yellow taco shells filled with lemony lettuce, our rich, thick beef-skirt and vegetable chilli, and topped with a glorious green homemade guacamole flecked red with spicy chilli’s not only looked perfect but went down a treat as well.

The remaining third of the chilli has gone into a pot in the freezer for another day.

It’s definitely a keeper for the recipe book though. I really should take photos as I make these as I’m sure it would inspire you to give them a go.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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