I'd love some opinions and advice on a recipe I'm working on. I'm striving for a great-tasting taco filling made from lean ground beef, spices, and aromatics. I do like the americanized highly spiced ground beef like you'd get from a packet of ortega seasoning or the like, but I want to make it myself with quality spices, less salt, onion, and tomato sauce.
Here's where I'm at right now:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped small
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
ground black pepper
I started with the Cooks Illustrated beef taco recipe and have made many modifications, but the method I use is still theirs, so I can't post it here. Basically it goes like this: cook the onion until translucent, add the spices and cook briefly until fragrant, add the beef and cook until browned, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, around 10 minutes. Adjust salt, assemble tacos, grab cold beer, enjoy.
I feel like the recipe is really close, but it's missing a bottom note, if that makes any sense. It doesn't have a deep beefy flavor and I'm not sure how to get it. I want a recipe that works with lean ground beef, so a fattier cut isn't an option. I also don't want to use bullion or anything with tons of salt or artificial ingredients.
What do you think? Any ideas or suggestions? Your help is greatly appreciated.