Man Does Not Live By Bread Alone….but when making Mexican Breads, it could be a lot of fun, and they taste good too!
Happy Valentine’s Day to Every One….If too much chocolate is an issue today…(but who can really have too much chocolate?) Perhaps you could give one of these Mexican Breads a try.
Home made Flour Tortillas…there is nothing so good as a warm tortilla dripping in melted butter and being used as a “scoop” to either scoop up pinto beans or scrambled eggs! Yummy! Or load them up with meats and other sumptuous fillings!
Or how about a puffy Sopapilla, oozing with honey or covered with a cinnamon/sugar-coating?
I learned to make Tortillas and Sopapillas from my Mother-in-law who was half Seminole Indian. She grew up in Moriarty, New Mexico and could make Mexican food like no other.
She teased me the first time I told her I was making her enchilada recipe, … when I said I was going to add ground beef. She looked over at me with a puzzled look on her face and said…the right way is an onion and cheese filling only.
She was a hoot and I loved her very much!
You could go into her kitchen anytime of the day and there would be a pot of Pinto Beans simmering on the stove, home-made tortillas wrapped in a kitchen towel and red and green chile sauces in the fridge.
Many times she would announce that she would be making Sopapillas and that every one of her family should come over and feast. Yum!
Some people call Sopapillas little pillows, but the name really means “holding soup.” Tortillas and Sopapillas are used for sopping up liquids…sort of an eatable spoon! Sopapillas are so versatile, they can be a dessert or bread with your meal.
Actually, Tortillas can be a dessert too, layered with preserves or other fruit fillings.
Sopapillas are one of many foods that New Mexico can call it’s own. The history of the sopapilla is over 200 years old, originating in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The sopapilla is often as much a staple of many New Mexican meals as the Tortilla.
Tortillas and Sopapillas have the same ingredients…just different proportions. Really pretty simple. I use lard because that is the way I was taught, but if you prefer to use shortening, please do so.
For the Tortilla and Sopapilla recipes….I had to actually figure out the measurements, because my Mother-in-law taught me to make them with terms like “about this much” and “3 fingers of” and “pinch of” and “enough to make dough moist”
So I have adapted as best I can…and remember altitude and humidity make a difference. 😉
Both Sopapilla and Tortilla printable recipes are below!
Go forth and make your own Tortillas and Sopapillas…you won’t be sorry!
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lard (or shortening)
- 2/3 cup of room temperature water
- 2 quarts peanut oil for frying
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Cut in lard until the mixture resembles fine crumbs (I use my hands but you can use a pastry cutter)
- Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour is moistened.
- Dough will be ready when it almost cleans the side of the bowl.
- Form dough into a large ball, cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board (don't press too hard on the dough).
- Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness (about 12 X10 inch rectangle).
- The more you work with the dough, the tougher your sopapilla will turn out, however, there is a fine line that you will learn, as you work with the dough. You will learn to "feel" the dough.
- Cut the dough into 3 X 2 inch rectangles or cut them larger and cut into triangles.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or a deep fryer until the oil reaches about 400 degrees
- Slide the sopapilla into the oil carefully
- Gently dip it under the oil, holding it down for a bit... it will start to puff and pop to the surface.
- Gently turn the sopapilla over until lightly browned by using a slotted spoon. It will most likely pop back up like a donut and the whole process should take about 2 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel.
- To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar or a mixture of equal parts cinnamon and sugar or drizzle with honey.
- Do not attempt to roll the leftover dough scraps. They will not puff, however, you can still fry the scraps along with the others, and they taste just like Navajo Fry Bread.
- Also, don't be discouraged if your first batch doesn't puff up nice and tall. Sopapillas have a mind of their own, they either puff or they don’t puff. Any puffing is good and it could be your oil was not hot enough or it was too hot. Temperature and altitude can make a big difference.
- Sopapillas can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- Makes approximately 1 dozen Sopapillas.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons Lard (or shortening)
- 1/2 cup room temperature water (give or take)
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Cut in the lard until you have a very small crumbly mixture
- Add a little water...a tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition
- You want the flour mixture moistened and the dough almost cleaning the sides of the bowl
- Form the dough into a big ball
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts for 8 inch tortillas (12 parts for 6 inch tortillas)
- Form the parts into balls
- Leave the balls of dough in the mixing bowl and cover with a towel.
- Let set for at least 20 minutes, but they can sit as long as an hour.
- For each tortilla, roll 1 ball on a lightly floured surface into an 8 inch circle
- Heat ungreased cast iron skillet (or heavy skillet) to medium high heat
- Cook tortilla (one at a time) until blisters appear on the surface of the tortilla which will be about 2 minutes
- Turn and cook on the other side until dry...about 1 minute more
- Stack the tortillas in a towel to keep warm.
- The most difficult part will be rolling out the dough in a circle. Some of my first tortillas were oblong..hey, it doesn't matter, the taste is the same. After you roll enough tortillas, you will have perfect circles. Some people like to use a tortilla press.
- You can also place waxed paper between the tortillas and cover with a damp towel until ready to use.
- Now, I am going to tell you how I was taught to cook the tortillas. It requires a gas cook top.
- I turn the gas on to a medium low...this is something you just have to experiment with, depending on your flame...then I take the flattened tortilla and place it directly on the gas burner, no skillet. I turn it frequently being very careful not to burn myself...until it has the desired brownish spots (for lack of a better term)
- I also put my fresh green chiles on the gas burner and char them that way. You could roast them in the oven,....but some of the older methods work just fine.
- DO NOT however...try cooking tortillas or roasting green chiles directly on an electric burner. Always use a skillet for the tortillas and roast the green chiles in a pan in the oven!
- Another of the many reasons I prefer to cook with gas....a gas cook top! 🙂