Josef Centeno’s Homemade Flour Tortillas and Queso
These recipes are featured in Josef Centeno’s Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen.
Tía Carmen’s Flour Tortillas, ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I had to add another ¼ cup of flour to the mixer before the dough would pull away from the bowl)
1 tablespoon lard, shortening or rendered bacon fat
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup whole milk
Queso (adapted recipe), ingredients:
1 cup half-and-half
14 ounces Velveeta, chopped
¼ cup finely grated Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
Fine sea salt
Optional garnishes: Crema Mexicana; finely chopped red onion; thinly sliced jalapeño
Tía Carmen’s Flour Tortillas, recipe directions:
Put the flour, lard, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix at low speed just until incorporated.
Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam (make sure it doesn’t boil). With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the warm milk into the flour mixture, and mix until the milk is completely absorbed by the dry ingredients and the dough forms a rough ball and separates from the bowl. It will happen fast, in about 20 seconds. Shape the dough into a smoother ball (it will be soft and slightly lumpy on the surface).
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled medium bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Heat a skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. Uncover the dough and divide into six 1 ½-ounce balls. Generously four a smooth work surface and roll out each ball into an 8-inch circle.
Use a paper towel to lightly oil the hot pan, and gently place a tortilla on it. Cook until bubbles form on the entire surface of the tortilla, about 1 minute, and flip.
The tortilla will start to leaven once flipped. When the leavening stops and the tortilla is golden brown on the bottom, about 1 minute, remove from the heat and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve immediately.
Queso, recipe directions:
Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until hot (not boiling). Raise the heat to medium, and add the Velveeta, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, melting each one before adding the next. Whisk in the salt. When all of the cheese are melted and fully blended, transfer to a serving bowl or bowls. Put the garnishes in bowls, if using, and serve immediately with tortilla chips. Store any leftover queso in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a saucepan over medium heat before serving.
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