Lunchbreak: Homemade Corn Tortillas and Steak Tacos with Roasted Poblano Rajas from Chef Rick Bayless and Details on the Kohler Food & Wine Experience

Midday News

Chef Rick Bayless


2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience, the premier epicurean event of the Midwest, taking place Oct. 21 – Oct. 24.


Homemade Corn Tortillas

Makes 15 tortillas

  • 1 3/4 cups powdered masa harina for tortillas (Maseca brand is widely available) OR 1 pound fresh-ground masa
  1. Mix dough. If using powdered masa harina, measure into bowl and add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water. Mix with hand, kneading until thoroughly combined. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. If using fresh masa, scoop into bowl. Break up and knead a few times until smooth.
  2. Heat griddle or skillets. Set large griddle (one that stretches of 2 burners) or 2 skillets on stovetop. Set heat under one end of griddle (or one skillet) at medium. Set heat under other end (or other skillet) at medium-high.
  3. Adjust consistency of dough. Gently squeeze dough. If it is stiff (it probably will be), knead in water 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time until the dough feels like soft cookie dough—not stiff, but not sticky. Divide evenly into 15 pieces and roll each into a ball. Cover with plastic.
  4. Press out dough balls. Cut 2 pieces of plastic bag 1-inch larger than tortilla press. Open press. Lay in one piece of plastic. Lay dough ball in center. Gently mash. Top with second piece of plastic. Close press. Press gently—enough to mash dough into 1/8-inch disc. Pull off top piece of plastic.
  5. Unmold uncooked tortilla. Flip tortilla onto right hand (if right-handed). IMPORTANT: top of tortilla should line up with top of index finger. Lay on medium-hot griddle (or skillet) by letting bottom of tortilla touch griddle, then lowering your hand slightly and moving it away from you—the tortilla will stick to the hot surface so you can roll your hand out from under it as it rolls down flat.
  6. First flip. After about 30 seconds, edges of tortilla will dry slightly and tortilla will release from griddle—before this moment, tortilla will be stuck. With metal spatula (or callused fingers), flip onto hotter side of griddle (or hotter skillet).
  7. Second flip. After about 30 seconds, tortilla should be browned underneath. Flip. Cook 30 seconds more—tortilla should puff in places (or all over—a gentle press with metal spatula or fingers encourages puffing). Transfer to basket lined with towel.
  8. Continue. Press and bake remaining tortillas. Stack each baked tortilla on previous one. Keep tortillas well wrapped in towel to keep warm.

Steak Tacos with Roasted Poblano Rajas

Serves 4

For the Steak: 

  • 1 pound flank steak OR butterflied skirt steak OR thin-cut round tip (1/8- to 1/4-inch thick) also known as minute steak, sandwich steak or breakfast steak in American markets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • 12 fresh warm corn tortillas

For the Rajas:

  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

Marinate the steaks: In a small bowl, mix the oil, lime juice and salt. Place the steaks in a non-reactive dish — a 13-by-9 glass baking dish works well — and pour the marinade over the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Making the rajas: Roast the poblanos over an open flame or close up under a preheated broiler, turning until blistered and blackened all over.  Let cool until handleable, then rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the seed pod.  Rinse the poblano briefly to get rid of stray bits of blackened skin and seeds.  Cut into ¼-inch strips that are about 2 inches long. In a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high, heat the oil.  When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly until lightly browned, 4 or 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir continually for about 45 seconds until fragrant and add the poblano strips.  Taste the mixture and season it with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon. Remove from heat.

Grilling the meat: Heat a gas grill (or grill pan) to medium or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until medium hot. Place steak on the grill and cook for about 8 minutes per side, then let it rest on a cooling rack atop a sheet tray for about 5 minutes. Working against the grain, slice the steak into 1/2-inch strips

Serving the tacos: Cut the long piece of skirt steak into 3- to 4-inch lengths, then cut each section across the grain into thin strips. Mix with chile and onions, season with salt and set on the table along with the lime wedges and warm corn tortillas. 

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