In early December we bought tortillas from Jose’s Tortilleria. We got a mighty stack of white corn tortillas—still warm—for a few bucks. What a deal! We did our best to use them up with some mole-inspired roasted pork, but didn’t come close. We used a few for breakfast burritos. We even tried them as a vehicle for baba ghanoush. Then I got the idea to try making some tortilla chips as a stand-in for Frito’s in chili pie. I’ve baked tortilla chips before with good results, but I wanted to put my lard to use! It was super easy and quite a treat to make these substantial, irresistible tortilla chips right in our own kitchen. Come summertime, I’ll make another batch and enjoy them on the porch with some salsa and beer, while watching the grass veggies grow.
I used kitchen shears to cut up the tortillas while I heated the lard in the dutch oven. It was helpful to fry a trial chip to make sure the fat was hot enough. You want it to sizzle right away so it doesn’t just sit there and sop up the fat. Ew.
They sizzled in the fat for about five minutes while I flipped them a couple times. Once they were crispy and golden, I placed them on a paper bag and promptly sprinkled them with cumin and freshly ground sea salt. You can’t eat just one! I had a difficult time saving them for the chili they were meant to accompany.