Leftover Love: Blue Corn Tortillas + Chipotle Beef Tacos

beef-tacos When you have a big hunk of spicy slow-roasted steak in the fridge, along with a host of crunchy vegetables, thoughts inevitably turn to tacos. This is not a bad thing.

Making your own corn tortillas isn’t hard, even without a tortilla press; it’s just a little time-consuming. But the flavor is really incomparable to store-bought varieties (at least the varieties I can find in my neighborhood). And when you have superlative slow-roasted spicy beef and fresh from the farmer’s market vegetables, they deserve nothing less than the best corn tortillas, no?

Leftover homemade blue corn tortillas? Also not a bad thing. Stay tuned…

Leftover Love is a series in which I enthuse about the joys of having a fridge packed full of rich & varied meal components – a.k.a “leftovers” – to aid you in making easy and delicious meals all week long.

Tortilla recipe adapted from How To Make Corn Tortillas at Simply Recipes.

corn-tortillaBlue Corn Tortillas


  • 2 cups masa harina
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups hot water


  1. In a large, heavy bowl, combine masa harina, salt and baking soda. Mix together, then add water. Mix again and allow to stand for a few minutes so corn can hydrate. Knead and blend with your hands, adding more water or corn to adjust the consistency if necessary, until the dough holds together easily and is the texture of malleable Playdough. Form a small ball and flatten it between your palms; it should produce few, if any, cracks at the edges.
  2. Taking small pieces of dough, roll into balls a little larger than a golf ball. Place the ball between two sheets of parchment or a heavy plastic Ziploc bag cut into two pieces. Press flat, using a heavy Dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or unabridged dictionaryAlternatively, use a tortilla press.
  3. Loosen the parchment or plastic on both sides, then flip the flattened tortilla into a hot, dry skillet. Cook for about 1 minute per side, until tortilla slightly puffs and pales to a greyish blue. Slide onto a clean kitchen towel, wrap up, and keep warm in a low oven. Repeat with remaining dough.

Yields about 15 6-inch tortillas.

corn-tortillaChipotle Beef Tacos


  • slow-roasted chipotle beef, thinly sliced
  • corn tortillas
  • red cabbage, chopped
  • yellow carrot, peeled & grated
  • mild chile peppers, thinly sliced
  • red onion, chopped
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • salsa verde
  • adobo sauce, mixed with a dollop of sour cream
  • fresh lime


  1. Pile it on. Spritz with a little lime juice. Inhale. (Not literally.)


  1. Chopped vegetables don’t really store well: they get limp and sad and dried out, especially when cut small for a taco. Therefore, after we enjoy our tacos, I sauté all the remaining veg in a skillet with some olive oil, maybe adding another carrot or some celery or additional cabbage, because sautéed vegetables store much better. The bonus is, when you already have them cooked in the fridge, you are much more likely to add them to quick & easy meals.
  2. Pop on a pot of beans: the likelihood of burritos or nachos in the near future is high.


  1. Local-to-me masa harina is impossible to find (believe me, I’ve tried) but you can make local corn tortillas with corn meal and a bit of pastry flour.


Store tortillas refrigerated, well-wrapped in a kitchen towel and then plastic wrap, or in a glass container with a paper towel, for up to 5 days. Frozen for up to 6 months.




  1. Heather

    Have you tried looking in a local feed store for local field corn? Sadly, it’s mostly used for animal feed in these parts. I grew my own this year. You can find cal in the canning section at Walmart, called pickling lime, and make your nixtamal at home. It’s a process, and having the right equipment is really helpful. But cornmeal does not a tortilla make.

  2. Dale in Denver

    I use my glass Pyrex pie dish to flatten tortillas. It is east to “swirl”, which Smoothest over any cracks in edges and gets them more or less round. Bonus is that I can see through it to decide if they are big enough, thin enough, round enough, etc.

  3. ecoteri

    I am confused. how are your tortillas blue? My masa is yellow…. (and I have now, officially, broken 3 tortilla presses. really. busted them – snap – the cast iron part. Pathetic)

    • Hi Ecoteri,

      You can find blue corn masa, although it’s far less common than masa made with yellow corn. Organic masa itself is impossible to find in my ‘hood, so I ordered mine online.

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