There are few things that I like more than commercials for “as seen on TV” products. Especially for products that solve a problem that you didn’t even know you had. Like putting on your socks, or opening a jar, or breathing (you try and try, but you just can’t take in oxygen and convert it to carbon dioxide, and WHO HAS TIME TO LEARN HOW TO DO IT??) And even more so when the first part is in black and white, and shows just how complicated life is, and then it switches to color to show how much better it is when you’ve solved the not-problem-problem.
Here’s my favorite one:
Before she discovered the green pan, this woman had no concept of how cooking worked – she probably thought if you banged two rocks together, a stir fry popped out. But now that she has the green pan, she’s all, oh look at me, I’m Emeril Batali, come check out my 13 new restaurants that are opening this week, Iron Chef just called, they want me to be on their East Japanese Shark Fin Powder episode.
Anyways, this is a long winded way to say that I’ve discovered that the same way of thinking could apply to tortillas. Store-bought tortillas are black and white, but homemade tortillas…that is living in space age technicolor.
Did you know that tortillas puff up when they’re cooked? I didn’t until I made these. You could treat these as little pita pockets if you wanted to, except these would actually taste good, instead of tasting like semi-pliable cardboard.
Did you know that tortillas are supposed to be tender yet chewy? I didn’t either. Check that, I kind of did, since Houston has amazing fajita restaurants, but I didn’t think you could make those kind at home.
This does take a little bit of work, but with some good planning it’s very doable. IT. IS. NOT. HARD.
(Also, this recipe will piss off the Whole30 people, and that’s a good thing.)
As the name suggests, you’re going to need bacon fat. To do this, you’re going to need to cook some bacon to render the fat. I should not need to convince you to do this – if I have to, get the hell off of my blog.
As a rule, whenever you cook bacon, you should be saving the fat. It tastes much better than butter, and it keeps forever. You’ll be passing the fat container down from generation to generation.
(Also, please don’t do that, I just made that up, it’s probably not true.)
(Also, make sure the fat cools for a bit before you pour it into a plastic container. I learned this from experience.)
These are going to be thicker than your typical store-bought tortilla, but they’ll still be pliable. If you want to get them super thin, you’ll need to invest in a tortilla press, which will set you back $15-20, and will take up a little space in your kitchen.
Also, these are going to cook best in a cast-iron pan. If you don’t have one, you could use a non-stick or stainless pan, but it’s not going to get as hot as cast-iron, and you need the high heat to get the blister marks on the outside. Get a cast-iron pan. Chances are your grandma has one hidden away somewhere, and you can make sure she meets an untimely deat…I mean, ask to borrow it and never give it back. I got mine at a flea market for $20, and it is so useful, and isn’t nearly as hard to maintain as people make it out to be.
Bacon Fat Tortillas
Makes 16 tacos
From Bon Appetit
8 ounces thin-cut smoked bacon
2 tablespoons, plus ½ teaspoon, vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the bacon in the skillet and cook until brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, and use in the taco filling, or save for another use. Pour off 2 tablespoons of the fat from skillet, and set aside for making tortillas. Save the rest for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine, baking powder, salt, and 3 cups flour.
Bring the vegetable oil, ¾ cup milk, and reserved bacon fat to a simmer in a small saucepan (be careful not to boil). Immediately remove from heat.
Pour hot milk mixture and remaining ½ cup milk into dry mixture bowl. Mix with your hands until a shaggy dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature 1 hour to relax dough.
Divide the dough into 16 balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Cover the balls with a kitchen towel.
Working one at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface into 6″ rounds.
Heat a clean large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Cook tortillas one at a time, reducing the heat if they are getting dark too quickly, until brown in spots on bottom sides and air bubbles form on surface, about 2 minutes. Poke large bubbles with a fork to release steam, flip tortillas, and cook until brown in spots on second sides, 1–2 minutes. Stack and wrap tortillas in a kitchen towel as you go.