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Christmas Fare: Fed up of turkey? It might be time to try a recipe for taco chips

If you’ve had enough of turkey sandwiches and leftover omelettes this week, this could be just the recipe for you, from Dario Macari of Romayos.

Dario Macari

IF 2020 HAS proven anything regarding our relationship with food, it’s that we have indulged ourselves a little – and with good reason after the year that was.

As the health crisis caught Ireland – and the world – in its grip, most takeaways remained open, albeit in a different setup, with many tailoring opening hours to reflect the social upheaval.

We at Romayo’s were no different and we were fascinated by some of the eating trends we discovered since March. Milkshakes became a surprise hit of the second lockdown and treating ourselves to a good old fashioned takeaway with family was well justified as our pre-Covid lives were turned upside down.

We analysed eating trends, studying 20,000 orders to find that consumers had revived the lunchtime takeaway trade as remote workers sought a break from their kitchen tables and home offices to collect lunch.

And there was a definite return to family mealtimes, with recent orders between 4 pm and 6 pm increasing by 29% compared to the first lockdown in March. 

We also saw the bigger picture of an extraordinary year, jumping on board the national effort to recognise frontline emergency workers by offering them free meals on their way home.

It was a special year, too, for our takeaway in Dublin’s Clonsilla as it was named Best Chipper in Ireland in the Just Eat National Takeaway Awards. 

The humble chip

Accolades like these do not come along by chance – and as a third-generation family business, it is our unique approach to spuds that have created the nation’s most popular chip.

We source 80% of our potatoes from Irish suppliers and the process of bringing them from the Flynn family farm in Dublin to our customers is highly precise and detailed as different potatoes fry in different ways.

Flynns present bags of potatoes to us and we cook three to five random bags on site. Once we are satisfied, they will then provide a truck of 26 tonnes. We then pick another three to five random bags and re-cook them on-site to make sure that they match the first batch.

As we hope for a more positive 2021, we also reflect on how Romayo’s has evolved, starting with its first takeaway in 1959 and growing into its current network of 19 diners and takeaways that employ 280 people, a figure rising by 45 over the next year with the opening of three outlets.  

Some years ago, when we were coming up with slogans for the rebranding, one we considered was, ‘If we don’t eat it at our table, we wouldn’t serve it to a customer.’ If you come into our house, you will see us eating the food that we’re serving customers.

So, if the prospect of another turkey and ham lunch over Christmas is too much to bear, here’s some inspiration. Happy Christmas to all:

Taco Chips

shutterstock_146420003 Source: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes (Maris Piper, will be the best available in supermarkets)
  • 500g Lean minced beef 
  • 100-150g medium cheddar cheese 
  • Taco sauce (whatever is available in your supermarket)
  • One Tin of tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes are recommended)
  • 100g kidney beans 
  • One red & one green pepper (medium-sized)
  • 2 tsp each of chilli powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder 
  • 1 Tablespoon pure olive oil) 
  • Pinch of salt 

Method:

The Beef

 1.      Pour the olive oil into a heated pan and add the minced beef
2.      Cook on a medium to high heat, until it’s completely browned.
3.      Drain off any fats/residue. 
4.      Reduce the heat and add finely chopped peppers and kidney beans
5.      Add the chilli powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of salt
6.      Mix thoroughly
7.      Add in the tinned tomatoes and simmer on low heat. 

The Chips

1.      Wash, peel and cut potatoes into finger-sized chips
2.      Fry in an oil of choice or oven cook, if preferred. 

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The Build

We recommend using a deep bowl or serving dish. 

  1. Lay out the chip. 
  2. Add the beef mince on top
  3. lightly layer taco sauce over the beef mince 
  4. Finish with a layer of cheddar cheese to top 
  5. Allow to sit for one minute, so the cheese can melt
  6. Serve and enjoy

Dario Macari is the operational manager of Romayo’s fast-food restaurants.

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