September 6, 2011

Soy Chorizo Sopes

It's a little weeknight trip to South America.

I was first exposed to sopes at my favorite Philadelphia Mexican restaurant, Tacqueria Veracrusana. This place is the real deal... I was obsessed immediately with pulled pork and pineapple tacos enveloped soft, fluffy just-made corn tortillas, the crispy, double-thick corn chips straight from the fryer, and their perfectly creamy guacamole.... It took me a few visits to venture out of my ordering routine and out into the territory of sopes.

Sopes are corn patties that are lightly fried and topped with the filling of your choice. The first bite was instant love. The cornmeal patties are slightly creamy in taste but firm in texture, which makes them satisfying and comforting at once. The gently fried cornmeal is the perfect light and delicate flavor vehicle for an infinite number of delicious toppings. But, I was nervous. I doubted I could re-create this at home. But I craved it so much I just had to try.

My discovery: they were easy. And healthful. In this case, I simply topped each patty with warmed soy chorizo, which took little effort beyond punching a few minutes into the microwave and stirring halfway. Feel free to get creative with toppings like beans, steak, pork, and chicken cooked in Mexican spices and a little broth for moisture. Garnished mine with lime, a little sour cream, and cheddar cheese, these sopes were a completely manageable weeknight dinner... and I saved myself a trip to the tacqueria. Enjoy!

Sopes: corn patties
2 cups masa harina (corn flour)
4 T. flour
.5 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 cup warm water (add more if necessary)
vegetable oil for pan-frying
Toppings of choice, such as chorizo, soy chorizo, or other Mexican meats or vegetables

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the water slowly while mixing. Stop adding water when the mixture gets to be moist and well-incorporated, but still a firm dough texture. Either refrigerate covered in plastic or immediately begin to form small 2" size balls with floured hands. Gently press down each ball on an oiled surface until 1/4 inch thick rounds are formed. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat and add enough oil to well-coat the pan. Once oil is hot, gently add each sopes and cook about 4-minutes per side, until slightly crispy and golden brown on each side. Serve immediately with desired filling.

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