18 May 2011
I've eaten a lot of tortillas in my life. It's hard to drive a mile in Oklahoma and not pass a Tex-Mex restaurant. You know the kind, where they bring you basket after basket of fried tortilla chips, little bowls of salsa and queso, and, at the good places, they bring you those tortilla warmers filled with soft, fluffy flour tortillas.
I know I'm not alone when I say that on more than one occasion I've eaten so many tortillas and queso that I wasn't even hungry by the time by enchiladas arrived. I have now stumbled onto something so fantastic and dangerous -- I've made them at home.
During a recent afternoon conversation with my friend Erin, she told me she'd planned on making tortillas that night for her family's dinner. I told her to let me know how it went and pass along the recipe. She said it was simple enough, so, today, while my boys napped and I chatted on the phone I made tortillas. I was shocked just how easy it was and excited just how delicious it was.
If you don't believe me, pull out the flour and shortening and get to work.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup hot water
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter. Add hot water and mix with a wooden spoon. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work into a bowl. Let the dough rest about 15 minutes, then, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (I use a bench scraper to cut the dough in half, and then the halves in half and so on). Roll each piece into a ball. Flour a work surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a thin round, roughly 6 inches in diameter. Set aside and repeat with remaining dough balls. Use a hot, dry skillet or griddle to cook until the tortilla puffs slightly and lightly browned spots appear underneath. Then flip and cook on the second side. Serve immediately or let cool on a cooling rack, wrap tightly in plastic once cooled and reheat for service later that day.