When I think of perfect foods one of the first dishes that comes to mind is the Taco. It can be constructed to please the biggest meat eater or an extreme veggie enthusiast. Not so hungry? Just eat one. Ravenous? Eat as many as you can cram in your face. Nobody judges you when you’re eating tacos. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Handheld and portable, tacos aren’t trying to ravage the landscape. They have a very small carbon footprint and don’t require plates and utensils or other fancy tools to get them into your mouth. Heck, wipe your mouth on your shirt sleeve and you don’t even need a napkin. Tacos care about the environment. How do I know this? They come wrapped in their very own, ready to be devoured, carb-centric holder. Cue the tortilla.
Want to skip all the pictures? Scroll to the bottom for the recipe and directions.
Only six humble ingredients are necessary to get this recipe going. If you’re not saving your bacon fat, fry up a few pieces in a skillet so you have 2 tablespoons ready for this recipe. You could probably substitute a couple of tablespoons of lard, but bacon fat adds an undeniably smoky richness.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together. In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 the milk, oil and bacon grease and gently heat over low until it melts the bacon grease and just begins to bubble around the edge of the pan. Do not bring it to a boil. Pour the warm milk mixture and the rest of the cold milk into the dry ingredients at the same time. Stir until it comes together in a shaggy mess and most of the flour has been incorporated.
Dump the dough out onto a clean surface (it will appear dry and crumbly) and gently knead for about 4-minutes. At the end of 4-minutes, you should have a smooth round ball of dough. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and set aside for 1-hour. At the end of 1-hour, unwrap the dough and cut it into 16 roughly equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball. Cover and set aside while you heat up your pan.
Heat a griddle, cast iron skillet or comal over medium to medium high heat for at least 4-5 minutes. My stove puts off a very high flame on the medium setting so that’s perfect for me. Lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin. Place a ball of dough on the surface and gently begin to roll out into a 6 inch circle. I have a tendency to go a little thick, but if you roll them out thinner, you’ll have slightly larger tortillas.
Brush off any excess flour and lay it in the hot skillet. When it starts to form bubbles, flip it. This should only take a few seconds. Do the same on the other side. Remove from the pan. Cover with a soft cloth until you’re ready to eat.
At the end of this process, you’ll have 15 pillowy warm homemade tortillas, ready to be filled with whatever your heart desires. Why 15? Because you just made homemade tortillas, so you deserve to eat one, hot out of the pan, in the quiet of your kitchen, all by yourself.
BACON FAT FLOUR TORTILLAS (I found this excellent recipe at Bon Appetit HEREand have been obsessed with it ever since.)
3 cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (I use Mortons)
1 1/4 cups Whole Milk (divided)
2 tablespoons Bacon Fat
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Oil (I use canola)
Place all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) into a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 the milk (3/4 cup), the oil and the bacon grease. Heat over low heat just until the the bacon grease has melted and small bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Do not boil.
Simultaneously add the warm milk mixture and the remaining cold milk into the dry ingredients. Stir until most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Dump dough onto a clean work surface (it will be dry and crumbly). Knead by hand for approximately 4-minutes. At the end of 4-minutes you should have a smooth round ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set aside for one hour.
Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round ball. Cover and set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet or comal over medium to medium high heat for 4-5 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll each disc into a 6″ round.
Brush off excess flour and place in the hot skillet. When it begins to form bubbles on top, flip the tortilla and cook on the other side. This should only take 1-2 minutes total. Stack cooked tortillas and cover with a kitchen towel until ready to eat.
What do these pictures tell me? That we eat a lot of tacos and drink a lot of Topo Chico!