Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Whole Wheat Tortillas and CrockPot Tacos

On the weekend, I tried my hand at making homemade tortillas. It was a blast. It was easy and fun. Start to finish it took me about 30 minutes (not including rest time) to make a dozen tortillas. The recipe I used as a base is found here. I stuck to it pretty closely, is it was my first try, but I did make a few slight changes to find a method that works for me. Here's what I did:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening (plus some)
1 1/2 cup warm water
Note: If you want to use all purpose flour, you will need slightly less shortening and water.

1. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

2. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening until the dough is crumbly.

3. Add water, starting with one cup, until the dough holds together and is slightly sticky (especially if using whole wheat - you do not want to dry out the dough).

4. Knead for about 3-4 minutes until the dough forms a nice ball. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 30 minutes (I know the recipe said 15 but I got busy doing something else and left them a bit longer. I'd stick with at least 15 minutes).

5. Pull of a small piece of dough (mine were bigger than a golf ball) and roll into a ball, covering it with flour.
6. Place on floured surface and roll out until extremely thin. Just to let you know, I had no problem rolling these to the desired thinness - the dough was very easy to work with.

7. When dough is rolled to desired thinness, use a lid or bowl of some kind to make them perfectly round. I think a lid from a 4 L ice cream tub would work ... I use the lid of a plastic mixing bowl. Anything that is round and is the size you want will be fine. I was making large tortillas, so the lid was perfect.

8. Place tortillas on a hot griddle for about 2-3 minutes on each side (As you'll see I commissioned help for this step - I rolled and cut while he flipped and the timing was perfect). The original recipe says 1-2 minutes per side on a cast iron grill, but I don't have cast iron, so this is what worked for me.

9. You can either serve immediately or place in an air-tight container or freezer bag and freeze for later use. I froze them because I was going to be using them today. I actually think freezing them may work better because when they came right of the griddle they were rather toasty, if we had tried to roll them then, I think they may have been too brittle. But, after freezing and then removing from the freezer for about 10 minutes, they were perfect and rolled very easily. (We also nuked them for about 25 seconds to warm them up a bit).

Now ... before I wrap this post up, I must share with you what I made to put inside these little beauties.

Crockpot Spicy Tacos (original inspiration is here, I made a number of changes).

1-2 lb roast cut into chunks (I used a venison roast that was in the back of my freezer that really needed to be used. The original recipe calls for pork sirloin, I'm sure you could use beef, or probably even chicken. If you want vegetarian, double the amount of beans).
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed) Adding beans will stretch this meal a lot more and really helps if you (like me) have a smaller amount of meat
2 cups cooked red beans (or 1 can...)
1 cup cooked, pureed squash ("SQUASH?!?!" You ask? That's right, check out Tereasa's posts here and here about this). This is the first time I've tried this sneaky trick, and it's in a dish that is different than what she's suggested so, here's hoping!
1 1/2 cups salsa verde (I would have also loved to throw some green sauce in - but I didn't have any)
1/2 red pepper, sliced julienne style
1/2 green pepper, sliced julienne style
1 hot pepper, chopped (leave seeds in if you want more spice)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp taco seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
Dash salt

Throw all of this in the crockpot and set to low for 8-10 hours. By that time, the pork should shred easily with two forks. Put some filling down the middle of your homemade whole wheat tortillas, top with whichever toppings you like, roll up and enjoy!

I served these with brown rice, chopped tomatoes, green onions, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. Other options: shredded lettuce, corn, chopped avocado, tortilla chips ... anything you like!

The verdict: Lucy and Lucky give this meal two thumbs up!

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