Sometimes you just have to try doing something different. I had never made tortillas before. Somehow, I had an old, cast iron tortilla press in my possession. I remember it being in my parent’s house for ages. My mother never used it to my knowledge. She was Ukrainian for goodness sakes! Why did she even have a tortilla press? I suppose she could have made pierogies with it. Come to think of it, I may have to try that! Pierogies are just Eastern European empanadas.
Tortillas are pretty simple to make. The dough is made from three ingredients: Masa harina, hot water and salt. Form the dough, let it hydrate for a while, portion it and press it. You can expect the dough ball to be somewhat sticky, and quite dense. Then you just need to fry them on a hot cast iron pan with a touch of fat. They are delicious too! And they make good vehicles for other delicious foods, like my braised pork.
After you form the dough ball, you can make dough portions about the size of a ping-pong ball or golf ball. To use the press, cut a large zip-loc bag down both sides, leaving the bottom fold intact. This is very important if you want to be able to get the raw tortillas off of the press. I pressed a tortilla twice. The second pressing was done after turning the tortilla 90 degrees. It made for a more uniform thickness in my opinion. Stack the tortillas together with squares of waxed paper or parchment between to prevent the tortillas from sticking together.
Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium high heat. Just to warn you, I’m still trying to find the right temperature. Too high and the fat polymerizes into a nasty mess on the griddle, and you run the risk of burning the tortillas in spots. If the temperature is too low, the tortilla simply dries out before cooking thoroughly. Notice the nicely browned spots on the taco? Darned near perfect! The tortilla is cooked through, but still pliable. It folded around the pulled pork, cabbage slaw, and black bean salsa perfectly.
To make Braised Pork Butt Tacos you will need: