Homemade Taco Extravaganza
One of the best things about living in the U.S. is the grocery stores. I can go to one store and find everything I need to make just about anything.
But to get to the grocery store, I have to put on normal clothes (which means changing out of pajamas), remember where I parked my car, drive to the store and navigate a crazy parking lot. Then once I’m at the store there are hordes of people, unattended shopping carts left in the middle of many-an-aisle, and if you can’t find something, well, that’s just too bad because you won’t be able to track down a store employee to point you in the right direction.
Which is to say, sometimes I don’t like to go to the grocery store, modern marvel that it may be. On Saturday Nate and I decided we wanted to make tacos for dinner and I really just couldn’t be bothered to go to the store, even though we had no tortillas.
So, I just made the tortillas myself. I’d rather spend my afternoon toodling away in the kitchen then at the grocery store, and homemade food almost always tastes better than what you’d buy anyways. Homemade tortillas are actually really easy to make and they are so good. All you need is flour, shortening or butter, water and salt. Previously I’d made tortillas with butter, but this time I used shortening and they were more tender and flaky than the butter tortillas.
Perfectly circular tortillas are way over-rated. It took a couple tries to get the pan temperature right, and you want to cook them on medium-high heat so they don’t get crunchy because then they break when you roll them into tacos.
In addition to not having any tortillas, we also didn’t have any of those handy little taco spice packets. I made a spice blend for the meat (venison, in this case) using salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, chili flakes and cayenne.
Mmmm. If you have an extra 45 minutes and you’re making tacos, or if you live somewhere where you can’t buy tortillas (hi, Kirst!), I would highly recommend giving homemade tortillas a try. They taste the great whether they’re circular or not, and it’s a less stressful alternative than trying to get to the grocery store!
(Adapted from The Food Network)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used closer to 3 cups)
- Scant 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, place the flour, shortening and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Roll each into a ball and place on a baking tray or board. Cover with a towel and let rest at room temperature at least 15 minutes or up to one hour. Divide each ball into three more balls (there should be 9 total). Cut out eight 12 inch squares of waxed or parchment paper for stacking the tortillas. On a lightly floured board, roll each ball into a 10 inch circle, and transfer to a paper square. Stack on a baking tray or platter and refrigerate until cooking time. Uncooked tortillas can be kept in the refrigerator, well wrapped with paper squares between the layers, up to 2 days. To cook, heat a dry griddle or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Carefully peel off the paper and cook the tortillas, one at a time, until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside to cool slightly on a towel lined platter. Bring to the table wrapped in a towel for warmth, or wrap well and refrigerate or freeze for quesadilla or other dishes.