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As we enter into the month of September, I am reminded of my Mexican heritage and all the great cooks that came before me. Someone asked me the other day if we eat our meals with tortillas everyday? There was a time, when I lived at home, that I would have said yes. My brother Ismael tells the story of how we didn't even use forks until we were teenagers, ha, ha, ha. It's true! It was either tortillas or bread to scoop up our food. NO FORKS ALLOWED! In this recipe, I give you a version of a thick corn tortilla or a panucho as it is called. There are many variations on this recipe, such as gorditas, migadas and sopes. The ingredients are much the same, but just prepared slightly different. I, like my parents before me, am very proud to be Mexican, to be Hispanic, and to share with you my parents legacy.
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
For Adobo Sauce:
4 guajillo peppers
2 chile ancho peppers
1/2 small white onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground
1 teaspoon crushed Mexican oregano
1½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt to taste
You will also need:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup refried beans
1 cup your favorite salsa
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, sliced into wedges
Rustic comfort foods of my family....
1. In a bowl, add the masa harina, salt, garlic powder and baking soda. Gradually add in the warm water until the dough forms. Make 8 dough balls, transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
2. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile guajillo and chile ancho, tear them into smaller pieces. Transfer them to a glass bowl, add the onion. Cover with water and cook in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes or until the peppers become soft. Remove from microwave and let steep for 20 minutes.
3. Drain the peppers/onion mixture and transfer to the blender. Add the garlic, chipotle in adobo, cumin, oregano, 1/2 cup broth and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until smooth, set aside. Warm up the beans on low.
4. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in pan to medium heat. Add the adobo sauce from the blender, shredded chicken and remaining cup of broth. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and continue cooking at a low simmer until sauce reduces and becomes thick. Keep warm.
5. Preheat a large nonstick skillet or comal to medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes. Line a tortilla press with wax paper. Press the masa balls until they are about 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide and about 1/4 inch thick. Cook for 2 minutes per side. Cover the panuchos with a lid if possible. The steam created helps them cook up light and fluffy inside. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly. Carefully slice an opening in each panucho and add some refried beans onto the inside. To plate, add some lettuce to each plate, add panucho, top with adobo chicken and garnish with your favorite toppings. Yields 8 servings as an appetizer or 4 servings as a meal.
Notes: For a slight variation, after you fill the panuchos with the beans, you could lightly fry them on each side before adding chicken. If you do not have a tortilla press, you could use the bottom of a flat plate.
Other recipes by Sonia:
Tequila Lime Shrimp
Beef, Black Bean & Rice Albóndiga Soup
Guacamole & Cheese Stuffed Roasted Jalapeño Poppers
Chile Relleno with Serrano Shrimp
Steak & Potato Alambritos (Kabobs With Chimichurri)
Seared Tequila Scallops in a Cilantro Chile Sauce
Annatto-Citrus Marinated Chicken
Chile Verde Beef Enchiladas
Mom's Beef Picadillo With Potatoes
Roasted Garlic Tomato Salsa With Avocado
Chocoflan / Pastel Imposible