Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blue Corn Sopes with Refried Beans and Cheese

Sopes are another one of those Mexican comfort foods that so many people have yet to add to their repertoire let alone try just because they haven't become as ubiquitous as tacos or burritos. But really, they are equally versatile and delicious.

Here in northern Humboldt we are lucky enough to have a local purveyor of great masa - yellow and blue (Bien Padre, AKA Mala Madre according to my hubby), so I scooped up some blue masa to make these tasty morsels. Like Gorditas or homemade corn tortillas, you simply add water and salt to masa and let it sit; then you shape it and fry it as needed.

Making the dough is about trial and error - you don't want it too wet or too dry, and letting it sit for at least 15 minutes helps to allow the masa absorb the water. I simply dump some masa into a bowl - about 1 1/2 cups for about 3-4 sopes each - add about 1 cup of water and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let it sit while I'm getting the toppings ready. Then I check the dough and see if it needs a little more water or a little more masa. It should hold together when you make a ball and flatten it slightly; if it sticks to your hands, it needs just a little more masa. Conversely, if it's dry add a little more water. After a few trys you will see how it works best.

These were a brunch meal so it was a simple topping of refried beans, shredded cheese (ricotta salata, so similar to Mexican cotija) and some salsa and guacamole. Really, how can you go wrong!

Blue Corn Sopes with Refried Beans and Cheese
(serves 2)

1 1/2 cups masa (yellow or blue)
1 1/14 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil for frying

1 cup refried beans, warmed
cheese for grating - cotija, ricotta salata, cheddar, pepperjack

In a small bowl combine masa, water and salt and set aside to absorb. Either make or heat up the refried beans, prepare cheese and guacamole and set aside. Return to masa and check dough; does it hold together in a ball and flatten without crumbling? Does it stick to your palm? If it sticks, add a little more masa, if its crumbly, add more water. Once the consistency is good, form into a golf size ball and set aside. Form all the dough into balls and flatten gently, so that each sope is about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add enough oil to thickly coat the bottom and fry each sope on both sides until they are lightly browned and you can see that the dough is cooked. Remove from the pan and top with beans, cheese, salsa and guacamole.


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