Cook’s Recipe: Mexican Sopes

“I’ve feasted on the sustenance of the Southern folk, and I did not find it to my liking,” admitted the ranger.

The stranger scoffed, “Perhaps you have encountered counterfeit aberrations of our vittles that flood these parts, food that only hopes to imitate a shadow of our flavors.  I assure you, the fare of my people is quite different.” 

Even though I lived in a rural area growing up, I was lucky enough to have an authentic Mexican restaurant near my house in high school.  There’s how I was introduced to sopes. Real Mexican food has incredible, fresh flavor combinations, and this dish is a perfect example of that.  If you’re going to substitute any of these ingredients with Mexican cheese, a tortilla, or Tostitos salsa, then seriously don’t even bother making this dish.

Mexican Sopes

(Serves 3 meals)

3 cups Mesa corn flour
2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Chili powder
1 lb of shredded steak
2 cups of refried beans
1/2 cup of cojita or goat cheese
Salsa verde (personally, I think the salsa verde makes the dish)
3 large leaves of lettuce

Cutting board
Sharp knife
Frying pan
Biscuit cutter

We’ll start by making the base: fried masa cakes.

Mix the masa corn flour, water, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Knead with your hands until it’s a soft dough.  If it’s too dry, add water by the tablespoon until it’s the correct consistency.

Roll the dough into balls and roll them out onto a cutting board that’s been sprinkled with corn flour.  The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the dough into circles with a biscuit cutter.  If you don’thave one, the top of a pint glass should work.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan, then cook the cakes until they’re lightly browned on both sides, about five minutes in the pan total.

Sprinkle the shredded steak with a little chili powder and pan fry or grill it.  When it’s finished cooking, cut it into very small pieces.  Obviously, you can substitute any kind of meat, but try to make sure it’s easy to shred or cut into very small strips.

Layer the sopes as follows:  masa cake on the bottom, spread refriend beans on top, layer of steak, spoonful of salsa verde, a sprinkle of cheese, and a layer of chopped lettuce.