The next time you make bacon, save that grease!! It’s great for making fried eggs, slow-cooked collard greens, sauteed chicken … just about anything, really. And rendered bacon grease is essential for making your own tortilla chips. Fresh-off-the-stove chips are worlds away from the pre-bagged varieties you find at the supermarket (which are usually made with low-grade, highly refined oils like canola and soy). These homemade, perfectly crisp chips with their bacon-infused savoriness are even tastier than traditional chips made with lard.
Quick aside: lest you start to get upset over reading the words “lard” and “bacon grease,” know that contrary to popular (misinformed) belief, lard and bacon grease are actually monounsaturated fats. And if you opt for lard and bacon from pastured hogs, your delicious chips will have high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3s, too. Making your own tortilla chips is as easy as cutting a tortilla into triangles and then letting the bacon grease do its magic!
Homemade Tortilla Chips with Cilantro Salsa Makes about 1/2 cup salsa.
For the salsa:
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, damaged leaves removed, bottom stems cut off and discarded
Handful sliced almonds
For the chips:
Whole-grain corn tortillas (I love Food for Life’s sprouted 100% corn tortillas)
Rendered bacon grease
To make the salsa, saute the garlic in a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 3 minutes or just until the garlic is turning light brown. Immediately transfer to a food processor. Add remaining salsa ingredients and blend well, drizzling in a little more oil if the salsa is too clumpy. (Although you do want to create a thick dip texture.)
Cut the tortillas into bite-sized triangles. Heat the bacon grease in a medium skillet over medium heat until melted. Add the chips and cook for about 3 minutes or until the chips are light brown around the edges. Use tongs to flip over. Cook until second side is also crisp and turning a light brown. You’ll notice that the chips undergo a texture transformation: first they fray around the edges and look like they’re going to come apart, and then all of a sudden they harden and turn light brown around the edges.
Drain cooked chips on a wire rack. Serve with the salsa. Fun variation: the salsa can easily be turned into a pasta sauce by blending with more extra-virgin olive oil.