Sunday, February 28, 2010

Answered: Rachael's mexican food recipe request

Rach asked me for a tortilla recipe and fillings for tortillas from my Authentic Mexican cookbook by Rick Bayless (winner of top chef masters series). Meli got me the book and we made a soup a while ago that was delicious! Here is the recipe, let me know how it goes and post pictures. I haven't attempted to make my own tortillas yet. Rick Bayless highly recommends you get a tortilla press instead of improvising and pressing the tortillas between two plates, but I would probably just improvise :) Happy cooking Rach!

Corn Tortillas (makes 15 tortillas)

1 pound fresh masa for tortillas, store bought or homemade (let me know if you want this recipe too) OR 1 3/4 cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water

1) The dough. If using masa harina, mix it with the hot water, then knead until smooth, adding more water or more masa harina to achieve a very soft (but not sticky) consistency; cover with plastic and let rest 30 mins.

When you are ready to bake the tortillas, readjust the consistency of the fresh or reconstituted masa (you want dough to be softer than short bread or play-doh, reconstituted masa harina should be as soft as possible, while still having enough body to be unmolded; it should feel a little softer than perfectly adjusted fresh masa. It is necessary to add water from time to time; tortillas made from dry dough won't puff much, and wil become heafy and crubly). Then divide into 15 balls and cover with plastic.

2) Heating griddle. Heat large, ungreased, heavy griddle or 2 heavy skillets: one end of the griddle (or one skillet) over med-low, the other end (or other skillet) over medium to medium high.

3) Pressing. Cut 2 squares of heavy plastic to fit the plates of your tortilla press. With the press open, place a square of plastic over the bottom plate, set a ball of dough in the center, cover with the second square of plastic, and gently flatten the dough between. close the top plate and press down gently but firmly with the handle. Open, turn the tortilla 180 degrees, close and gently press again, to an even 1/16 inch thickness.

4) Unmolding. Open the press and peel off the top sheet of plastic. Flip the tortilla onto one hand, dough-side down, then, starting at one corner, gently peel off the remaining sheet of plastic.

5) Griddle-baking. Lay the tortilla onto the cooler end of the griddle (or cooler skillet). In about 20 seconds, when the tortilla loosens itself from them griddle (but the edges have not yet dried or curled), flip it over onto the hotter end of the griddle (or onto the hotter skillet). When lightly browned in spots underneath, 20 to 30 seconds more, flip a second time, back onto the side that was originally down. If the fire is properly hot, the tortilla will balloon up like pita bread. When lightly browned, another 20 to 30 seconds, remove from the griddle (it will completely deflate) and wrap in a towel.
Press, unmold and bake the rest of the remaining balls of masa, placing each hot tortilla on top of the last keeping the stack well wrapped.

6) Resting. Let wrapped stack of tortillas rest for about 15 mins to finish the cooking, soften, and become pliable.