Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortillas


Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the Mexican semi-holiday, here's my newest trial into Mexican cooking: homemade corn tortillas!

I bought a bag of masa a few months ago for Pioneer Woman's Simple Meaty Chili, and used 1/2 cup in the recipe. So the rest of the bag sat in my pantry, taunting me.


After reading the bag, the only other uses I could see other than thickening more chili, was to make it to it's original purpose: corn tortillas.

Why would I make my own tortillas?
1. Health - my tortillas have minimal ingredients: corn flour & water. No partially hydrogenated fats, no preservatives to make them shelf stable.

2. Cheap - for the cost of one package of prepared tortillas, you can buy one bag of corn flour and make 66 tortillas.

In full disclosure, I do not own a tortilla press. But I do own some heavy cast iron pans, so I thought in a pinch I could smash the crap out of them myself.

While I followed the recipe from the Maseca corn flour bag, I got the most technique tips from Texas Cooking

Corn Tortillas
Makes 8 tortillas

Combine:

1 cup masa
2/3 cup warm water
(or follow proportions on your bag of corn flour)
    1. Mix the Masa Harina and the water; knead to form your masa (dough) (or get your son to stir, stir, stir then knead)


    2. Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball

    3. Set the masa on a piece of plastic in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic (I used a thick storage bag cut in half because it worked better than regular plastic wrap - and yes, my storage bag says "Broccoli & Cauliflower $1.00 - Thanks Produce Club!)

    4. Press the masa (or in my case, smash evenly with a cast iron skillet)

    5. Transfer the tortilla by peeling it off the plastic to a hot, dry skillet (I used another cast iron pan)



    6. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side; gently turn

    7. Cook for about 60 seconds (it should puff slightly); turn back to the first side

    8. Cook for another 30 seconds on the first side

    9. Remove and keep the tortilla warm


      The first time I made tortillas, I used them immediately to wrap up into chicken enchiladas (with homemade enchilda sauce).

      The 2nd time, I made the tortillas a day in advance, stashed them in the frig and fried them up for tostadas the next night.

      I topped the tostadas with homemade Refried Beans, cheese, lettuce and Corn & Black Bean Salsa.

      The verdict?
      Oh. my. gosh. Now I know which of my favorite Mexican restaurants make their own tortillas, because the texture and taste is so far superior to store-bought.

      I enjoyed the homemade tortillas more in the enchiladas, and while they were good fried for tostadas, the work of making the tortillas one day, then frying them the next was a little too much for me. The next time I need a good cooking project, I'll make a double batch and see how they freeze, because the taste was totally worth it.

      Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking

      4 comments:

      1. Being gluten intolerant, I have made these. They ARE superior in flavor. I find, however, that they break easily when using as wraps. If I could bring myself to fry them I suppose that wouldn't be a problem. (?) And yes, they freeze well.

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      2. @ Nancy - I agree, they do break easily. We had them as regular tacos last weekend, and by the end, your taco was kinda a mess. But, I'm glad they freeze well, that will be my next run at them!

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      3. Wow those look so good! Did they come out perfectly round or did you need to trim them a little? Also I love the Black Bean Salsa, I make one but add seedless cucumber...super good during hot summer months!

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      4. @ Candi - they did come out round after squishing them with the pan, which I was pretty surprised! No trimming!

        The cucumber addition to the black bean salsa is a good one, since I get lots of cucumbers from my produce club that sometimes don't get eaten, which is almost shameful in our house! Good idea!

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