When it comes to consuming acorns from any species of oak, flour is the delivery system for most. The process of leaching acorns in "cold" water must be done with the ground nut, so cooks have become accustomed to working with this ingredient for baking, breading, and a variety of other ways. While I do rely more so on cold leaching, I do make a point to utilize the actual nutmeat for its texture as much as possible.
Although not overly complicated, hot leaching acorns do require a touch more attention and fuel to create the final product. But, with no milling required, you save time during the initial processing that is needed to remove the shell from the nut. The following steps require you to boil the acorns in water, changing out the liquid each time until all the bitter tannins are removed. This can take upwards of a dozen boils and a few hours of your time. This is something good to do when you have an outdoor fire going and have other projects to work on between boils.
When all is said and done, you are left with slightly bland chunks of acorns, ready to take on any flavor you throw at them! Here, I used spices commonly used in Mexico to add a nice touch of heat and deep flavor. Enjoy these as you would any meat or fish based tacos, using traditional or nontraditional condiments to elevate your taco game!
- 2-3 tablespoons rendered lard
- 1.5 cups hot leached acorns, roughly chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 heaping tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 lime, juiced
For the Tacos:
- 6-8 corn tortillas ( I love Tortillería Pachanga in Portland, Maine )
- homemade salsa
- 1 avocado mashed with lime
- sour cream
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the lard followed by the acorns.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the acorns dry out a bit and lightly toast.
- Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, and spices. Stir well, adding more fat if needed.
- Cook slowly, allowing the vegetables to soften and the spices meld into the acorns.
- Taste, season as needed with sea salt, then add a splash of lime before removing from the pan.
- Serve the acorn mixture alongside traditional taco condiments.