We had tacos on Sunday night. Fresh local pastured ground beef, local organic lettuce, scallions and cilantro . . . and an Old El Paso soft taco kit. Sure, it was tasty, and pretty cheap, but last night I was distinctly uninspired by the leftover flour tortillas that came in the kit.
So I decided I could make my own.
Tortillas, from Mexico, are traditionally simple inexpensive fare made in a hot place with scant fuel. Just what summer ordered!
Finding nothing in my cookbooks I turned to the internet. My go-to site for recipes is the Food Network, since I obviously trust celebrity chefs over simple folk like myself. Sure enough, there was a flour tortilla recipe that had received four stars from reviewers (and on reading, readers had penalized the recipe for saying “divide into 3 balls” and not explaining that each of those must be divided again into 3, making 9 tortillas in total.)
This makes a very sticky dough at first, but after mixing and developing the gluten, it turns silky and not sticky. I mixed in the Kitchenaid which seemed to make it go easier. I had a very hard time getting the tortillas into the pan, erm . . . elegantly. Mine were too big, they wrinkled or folded over. A bit messy. Next time I will reduce the fat, make 9 as “called for” instead of the 8 I did for strange mathematical reasons, and chill longer before cooking.
Though slightly ugly, these tortillas were truly delicious! They devloped little charred places where the dough bubbled up, and they completely lacked that slightly gummy, slightly chemical taste that store-bought tortillas have. They were easy, didn’t heat up the house too much, and got full marks from the family for taste. And even better, they were totally cheap to make.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 ounces lard (or shortening)
1 cup warm water
Whisk together flour and salt. Cut in lard until mixture resembled coarse cornmeal. Place into mixer. Slowly add water and continue mixing until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide into 3 balls and let sit under plastic wrap or damp tea towel for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Then divide each ball into 3 more pieces and roll out into 10-inch circles. Pile these circles onto a plate, with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between them. Wrap well and chill up to 2 days before making.
Heat a dry thick bottomed skillet, or a griddle if you have one, on medium. Remove the tortillas one at a time from the fridge (leave the rest to chill while you cook, especially if it is a hot day) and cook until browned and puffy on one side, and then flip over, about 30-40 seconds each side. Place in a warm oven until ready to eat.