Just when you thought we were done with Taco Rings, Taco Pies and all things Taco in Crescent Rolls – along comes another in the long line of takes on the Taco. Oh, but this one is just a little different. While Taco Braid is very similar it is made with pizza dough rather than Crescent Rolls, with the addition of sautéed onions and chopped tomatoes baked right into the Braid. Besides, I’ve got to admit – I really like the look of just about anything served inside braided bread. The outside all golden and delicious. Slice into that braid and everything just looks so yummy.
I knew the first time I read through the Taco Braid recipe that I had another sure fired hit on my hands. My guys loved it – not a scrap of Taco Braid left. They were so ready to scarf down this the taco braid that a “pretty” presentation on a nice, long platter was out of the question. Besides, serving straight from the baking sheet cut down on dishes to wash. For my KP crew (aka Hubby and Kiddo) that’s always a plus.
1 canister refrigerated pizza dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 cup Mexican Blend shredded cheese, divided
1 tomato, diced, plus additional for top, if desired
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups Shredded lettuce
Sour cream and taco sauce for serving, if desired
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 3 – 5 minutes. To the skillet with onions, add the lean ground beef and cook until brown. Gently drain so as to retain the onions while removing any excess liquid or oils.
Return meat mixture to skillet. Add the Taco Seasoning and water and mix until well incorporated. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the piece of parchment to your work surface. Place the pizza dough on the parchment and roll it so that it measures 10 X 15 – inches.
With a pizza cutter, make slices 1 1/2 – inches wide and 3 – inches long on both long sides of the dough. Return parchment paper to the baking pan with the sliced dough.
Place the ground beef down the center of the dough. Cover the beef with 3/4 cup of cheese, followed by the diced tomato.
Beginning at end closest to you, lift strips up and over filling, crossing in the middle. Press ends at next two strips, lift next strips and repeat, moving forward. Repeat the wrapping until the last two. Bring last two over end of braid, tuck and secure with a pinch.
Gently brush the top and side with the melted butter.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Clean any “spillage” that may have occurred during the filling and braiding process to prevent stuff from burning outside your braid.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Top with shredded lettuce and remaining tomatoes, if desired. (For a “cleaner” presentation, carefully transfer braid to a large serving platter before topping with lettuce). Cut with a sharp knife and serve with a large spatula. Serve with sour cream and taco sauce to pass around the table.