Cranberry/Chipotle sauce between the shells. Cornbread stuffing ‘meat’balls. Apple cider brussels sprout slaw. Sour cream gravy.
When telling my friend about these Thanksgiving tacos, I said “it’s like a pilgrim came in your mouth”. Though I know I’d probably be better off not having repeated that sentiment, I’m not sure how else I’d adequately describe these tacos. It’s all the best parts of Thanksgiving cradled between two tortillas and happen to be one of the most flavorful things I’ve ever eaten.
Leftover jalapeno yogurt cornbread muffins inspired this entire post and are what the stuffing meatballs are made out of (and tofu, celery, choice alliums and tons of sage). They’re crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and are incredibly similar to the traditional stuffing you’re accustomed to. They taste like familiarity itself. You could eat one of these cornbread stuffing meatballs on a humid, 90 degree day in July and they’d instantly transport you to a snow-covered late November, surrounded by family in a house warmed from the oven running all afternoon.
I find the act of rolling out meatballs pretty meditative or therapeutic, especially when they don’t actually contain any meat. Applying just enough pressure, rolling them in your hand, forming these perfect little balls one after another. I’ve made tons of meatless meatballs in my time, but these are by far the best. They come together easily and store/reheat well which is always a huge factor in my level of affection for a food item. If you wanted to add some chopped walnuts to them, I’d say yeah, sure, go for it. That sounds awesome. Good idea, man.
The sour cream gravy is quite literally the cherry-on-top of these tacos, further tying in the flavors of Thanksgiving. It’s great for sour cream that is too runny as the roux will thicken it up quite a bit (I’m kind of surprised it’s taken me this long to think of this, since the king of Mexican grocery stores in Milwaukee, El Rey has a brand of sour cream that tastes amazing but is so ridiculously thin).
The apple cider brussels sprouts slaw adds the vinegary punch tacos need. It’s really refreshing and bright tasting, but also complex with the addition of ground cloves. You can easily substitute any greens you want in place of the brussels sprouts (lacinato kale would work really, really well).
2 cup fresh cranberries
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp maple syrup
one 12 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo
big pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer until easily mashed (~10 minutes)
Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts Slaw
1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 red onion, sliced into thin strips or shredded
4 cloves garlic
1 small apple, shredded
1/4 bunch of cilantro
1/4 bunch of parsley
1/2 tsp ground cloves (or more, to taste)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
Cornbread Stuffing ‘Meat’balls
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained
4 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tsp dried sage
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
2 cups dried cornbread (toast in oven if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until evenly mixed and finely chopped. Roll into small balls the size of 1-2 tbsp. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
Jalapeno Yogurt Cornbread Muffins
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal (as coarse a grind as you can find)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, baking powder + soda and stir until combined. Add the yogurt, milk, 2 eggs and maple syrup. Stir until everything is incorporated then pour in the melted butter. Finally, fold in the chopped jalapenos.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Sour Cream Gravy
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp flour
1 tsp vegetarian chicken or vegetable bouillon
1 cup sour cream
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour.Once lightly browned, whisk in the sour cream and stir rapidly. Mix in the bouillon. Remove from heat.
To assemble the tacos
Pour 1 tsp olive oil into a skillet and heat to medium/high. Add a corn tortilla and cook about 10 seconds. Lift the tortilla and place another one under it. Cook for about 10 seconds. Repeat until all tortillas are lightly fried and pliable.
Brush 1-2 tbsp chipotle cranberry sauce in between two tortillas. Fill with 3 cornbread stuffing meatballs, the apple cider brussels sprouts slaw then finally the sour cream gravy.