Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barb’s Taco Ring

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil, optional
1 1/2 pounds ground lean turkey or beef (see note)
2 packages (1.25 ounces each) low-sodium taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls (regular or reduced-fat)
Reduced-fat sour cream
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Break up the meat into bits and add it to the pan. Stir and cook until the meat cooks through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the taco seasoning, and stir to distribute, then add the water. Cook, and stir over medium-high heat until the liquid cooks out of the meat, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Unwrap the crescent rolls and unroll the dough; you will have 16 triangles. Place an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone about 14- by 16-inches on a work surface. Arrange the triangles of dough with the large ends of the triangles toward the center of the pan and the points hanging over the edge of the pan. Leave a 3- to 4-inch hole in the center. Press the dough as needed to connect the triangles and give you a nice space for placing the meat. Spoon the meat and seasonings in a ring in the center of the dough. Carefully bring up the ends of the dough, twisting and braiding the dough as needed as it crosses over the meat. (Don't get too fussy with this because after this bakes it looks gorgeous whether the meat is covered or uncovered.) Place the pan in the oven.
4. Bake the ring until it is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven to cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Place a bowl of sour cream in the center of the ring and arrange the other condiments attractively to the side.
Note: I like to use a little more than a pound of meat. Barb likes to use 2 pounds because she says her kids are really hungry after they get in from school and sports. Suit yourself. A pound seems a little skimpy to me, but two pounds is packed.

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