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Fresh Flour Tortillas

There is nothing more divine to me than a warm and fresh tortilla. When I am in San Antonio, it is one of the things I look forward to most – stepping foot in a Las Palapas or Casa Rio and being served with a tortilla warmer full of steamy, perfectly pillowy flat breads to go with my carne guisada, migas, or fajitas.

That I spent years buying in-store tortillas for home use kind of depresses me, now that I know how easy they are to make. You don’t need much: flour, lard, salt, water, and a food processor or your own two hands.

You might think I’m crazy to cook with lard, and before I’d read Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex cookbook, I might have agreed with you.

Cooking with lard is actually much better for you than say, margarine. It has absolutely no trans fats, and stacks up gram for gram equally on total fat to vegetable oil. And Crisco? It’s got genetically modified soy bean oil in it. No thank you!

Besides all that, I am putting my hand on the Good Book here and telling you: You will only make a superior tortilla if you make it with lard.

I’m not asking you to cook with lard every day, and I’m certainly not asking you to make fresh tortillas every day of your life (though hey, if you want to join that party with me, it’s kinda fun) – but for the good of your tortillas, I am asking you to pick up that box near the butter that says LARD on it.

I promise, if I see you in the grocery store, I’ll give you a thumbs up. I will not judge. And if someone else starts giving you those judgy eyes? You send ’em my way. I’ll set ’em straight.

Robb Walsh tells me in his book that San Antonio has superior tortillas because of the hardness of the water there. San Antonio water comes from the Edwards Aquifer, and I’m here to tell you, it’s some of the best tasting water in the world. The Edwards Aquifer is an underground cavern made of limestone, filled with water. The limestone imparts minerals into the water that give it such a fresh perfect taste, and oh man.. I miss it now.

So if you ever make to San Antonio, you’ll have to taste the water and the tortillas, and tell me what you think. In the meantime, make some tortillas of your own, and throw some carne guisada or breakfast taco fixins in it. It’ll make your day, I promise.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, instead of just griddling your tortillas for use in tacos, visit Bake at 350 – a blog started by my fellow Texan and dear friend, Bridget – where she teaches you how to french toast tortillas and FILL THEM WITH NUTELLA. Did I mention she’s a freakin’ genius?[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Fresh Flour Tortillas – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

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Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories

Friday 30th of August 2013

Agree with you. Lard is way superior. And the manteca from Mexican markets is even better. It has gotten an undeserved bad name. Just gorgeous.


Friday 30th of August 2013

After years of practice, I can throw together a batch of tortillas in no time flat. Nothing better than fresh roasted & peeled green chili wrapped inside a warm tortilla right off the griddle :) Great secret to soft tortillas - instead of warm water use warm milk. Never use cold water as called for in some recipes I've found. I never use a tortilla press. Like all else, rolling round tortillas takes practice. The first ones I ever rolled look like some of the 50 states:/


Monday 24th of December 2012

I am so glad I found this! I am from Corpus Christi but I live in California (the hubs is in the military) and tortillas here are absolutely NOT even close to what Texas is .


Thursday 6th of September 2012

I am from San Antonio and agree with everything she wrote above. I have looked for recipes on the net and it always leads me to your site. What a great site you have. I am also looking for a good carne guisada recipe, something like the one they serve at las palapas. Do you know where i can get one?


Thursday 6th of September 2012

Chris, you made my day with this comment. I have a recipe for "Carne G" here on the site, a sort of bastardized version that my brother-in-law makes at the station (he's in the SAFD), but I've never posted my "real" carne guisada recipe because I'm still playing with it. It's not perfect yet.

I'll email my somewhat perfect recipe separately, and see how you get on with it. Let me know what changes you make, maybe we can post it here together with dual credit!


Brenda Kempf

Monday 11th of July 2011

So excited to find your blog! I live in Castroville which is right outside of San Antonio and totally understand all of the memories you have from the area... My mom learned how to make tortillas when I was very small. I learned at a very early age...We use shortening instead of lard and they are just can't beat a homemade tortilla!