Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homemade Tortillas and Grilled Pork Belly Tacos







Does it seem like we eat a lot of pork?  I'm starting to get a complex because a couple of people have commented on my pork consumption.  Is it time for me to start selectively omitting pork from my blog?  A little reflection on our weekly menu really reveals we don't have pork more than maybe once a week, but maybe it's just that I talk a lot about pork.  Having said that, the confession here is last night we had some folks for dinner and I had purchased a large pork belly to make pork buns.  Yes, there's been a few pork bun postings, hence none made last night.  I wound up using only half the amount I purchased, so tonight, we are having the other half cooked on the charcoal Weber.  I had marinated it in equal parts salt and sugar overnight.  Yesterday, I brushed off the excess, and rinsed it, dried it, then wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep for tonight. 
The Weber grill was set up using half charcoal briquets, and half  hardwood charcoal.  The coals were set to one side for indirect heat and a water pan was placed under the pork.  We kept the grill at 350 for about 2 hours of cooking.  It was smoky and delicious!  


For the tacos, I made a little sauce of sour cream, ssam sauce, soy and fish sauce.  Other fixin's were fresh cilantro, shredded cabbage, pickled cucumber, pickled fennel and scallions. There is no beating the pickled veggies, and really, it's all of the fresh and flavorful accompaniments that make the pork shine.

No sooner had I resolved to hang up my recipe writing hat for a while, do I decide to make some flour tortillas, which I have not made in so long, that it required a recipe look up.  I dug out this simple recipe which I remembered made some light and not too doughy tortillas.  The fine texture of these is the big pay off for making them from scratch.
2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the tortillas
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp shortening
3/4 cup water water


Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.  Using your fingers, cut in the shortening until it's the texture of coarse cornmeal.
Stir about 1/2 cup of the water into the mixture until it begins to form a ball.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead adding a little bit of the remaining water with your fingers until the texture is soft and wet, but not sticky.  This will take several minutes of good kneading.  
Divide the dough into 20 or so 1-ounce balls.  I stretch out the dough by rolling it until it is a long thick tube making it easier to cut into equal parts.  Fold the sides of the dough inward and form a round ball.  Cover them with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes or up to an hour.  
Roll each ball out using a small rolling pin or if you have one of those tortilla makers, that may work well too.
Cook tortillas over medium high heat using a non-stick skillet or griddle.  Once the griddle was hot and smoking, each tortilla took maybe only a minute to cook.  Just as I remembered, light and airy, and the perfect vehicle for the pork.  I should have done this a long time ago.

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