Duck Fat Tortillas
Who gives a duck!
🎵 It’s beginning to feel a lotttttt like… summer! 🎵
… and I for one am not so sure I was quite ready for a jump from highs in the 50s to well into the 80s quite that abruptly. I like to ease my way into a sunburn — not get it all at once! Or something like that, at least.
But, I think we can, in good faith, declare the end of the fickle New England spring and start thinking about ways to stay cool. The Family CWD will be spending as much time outdoors as possible, making ample use of backyard hoses and kiddie pools, the real pools of friends and family, and any lake, ocean, or river we can get our toes wet in. #NeverStopExploring and #BeanOutsider… or something1.
Anyway, let’s talk food, since that’s really why you’re all here. As you probably know, I’m always remiss to let good ingredients go to waste just because they’re not the main event of a recipe2. One of my personal favorites is saving rendered bacon and duck fat3. At any given time, we have at least one mason jar in the fridge filled with rendered fat, just primed for roasting veggies, cooking potatoes, or even searing chicken. Some may call it indulgent — and others gluttonous — but once you’ve gone fat, you’ll never go back.
Given this propensity, when I saw a chef I follow on Instagram making wagyu-fat/blue-corn-mesa tortillas for Cinco de Mayo last week, it stuck in my head, just waiting to inspire something. Naturally, when we ran out of naan to soak in the shakshuka with duck eggs we made last week (recipe coming, at some point, probably), I thought to myself — hey, why don’t I get fancy here? So, duck-fat tortillas4.
Here we go.
In a decent sized bowl, combine four cups of flour5 with about 1/3 cup of duck fat6, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, and a dash of salt. Mix with your hands until it’s fairly well combined, then spread to the sides of the bowl to make a “well” in the center. Slowly add about 1.5 cups of water, mixing throughout, until the dough starts to feel “right7.”
Heat up a cast iron pan to hot, and roll the dough out into pretty flat discs8 (or use a tortilla press if you have one) and throw on the pan for about 30 seconds a side. Serve hot however you like — though the open faced shakshuka-tilla as shown below ain’t half bad!
So there we have it folks. These tortillas shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to go from idea to stomach, so they’re very doable for a quick at-home lunch or weeknight dinner. I bet you could get real fancy and double fry them in a bunch of rendered duck fat, then serve with shredded duck hash and a sunny-side up duck egg. That would really be extravagant, huh?
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Of course, I’ll get crap from at least one of you about the fact that I compost veggie scraps and don’t use them in stock. Sorry, Sam — in my world, every day is Earth Day.
This practice actually came from another reader, way back in college. Thanks, Owen — you were ahead of your time!
Preferably bread flour (more gluten!), but I suppose any type of flour would work here as well. Just may need to adjust your ratio of bread : fat : water.
The original recipe calls for Crisco; I’m sure you could use butter, lard, schmaltz, or really any binding fat as you see fit.
Getting a sense of how dough should feel really just takes practice. Don’t over think it — it should be kinda springy, not overly wet or slippery, but not really shaggy either. When you get there, you’ll know. If you screw up, just add a little more water or flour — whichever you need to balance things out.
I’m lazy, so mine generally look more like unpuffed pitas.