Often described as a ‘cow town’, Columbus, Ohio is actually full of cultural treasures. One such subculture is the taco truck scene. Food carts across the city highlight delicious specialties from the owners’ regions of their home country.
One of my favorite trucks, Taqueria Jalisco, serves a menu reflective of the Jalisco state of Mexico. Their meat is perfectly seasoned, service is prompt and attentive, and everything is clearly homemade.
My favorite menu item? The chorizo sopito, pictured above. A sopito is a small thick corn shell topped with beans, meat, lettuce, and crema, at a minimum. When the Charcutepalooza challenge for May was announced, bulk ground sausage, I knew I had to recreate a taco truck chorizo sopito at home.
I started by making the sopito shell. The dough is a simple mixture of 2 parts masa harina corn flour to 1 part water and a dash of salt. After it rested for about half an hour, I hand formed thick shell shapes out of the dough. Alex fried them in four inches of oil at 350 degrees F for four minutes, turning once during cooking.
While homemade chorizo browned in a skillet, we cooked down pinto beans with onion and green chili and blended them to a fairly smooth texture, ideal for topping. Shredded lettuce, grated queso blano cheese, and faux crema (sour cream mixed with a little milk) were the frosting on the sopito cakes. Had I remembered it in the fridge, I would have added chopped avocado ala another of our favorite trucks, The Eighth Taste.
I am, of course, biased, but I believe our homemade sopitos bested Taqueria Jalisco. The freshly fried shells were mouth-wateringly crisp on the outside and densely corn flavored inside. The cheese and crema cooled the slight heat chorizo. The only downside to making this dish is that after two hours of preparation, the sopitos were gobbled up in a matter of minutes!
makes eight-twelve appetizer sized servings
3 cups masa harina
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 4 oz can diced green chilis
1 can pinto beans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
oil for frying (1-2 quarts)
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup crema or 1/4 cup sour cream plus 2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup shredded queso blanco cheese
1/2 avocado, diced
your favorite hot sauce (optional)
1. Mix masa harina, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
3. Add chilis, beans, chili powder, and salt to the pot. Cook until beans begin to break down.
4. Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a stand blender, to blend until almost smooth. Set aside.
5. In a dutch oven or wide pot, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Oil should be at least 4 inches deep.
6. Form sopito shell shape by forming a disc with approximately 1/2 cup of the dough. Press it into your palm while raising the sides up.
7. Carefully fry two-three shells at a time, turning once during cooking. When they are golden brown all over (approximately 4 minutes total), remove to a paper towel lined plate.
8. Assemble the sopitos: Top each shell with blended beans, chorizo, cheese, lettuce, and crema. Allow guests to add hot sauce as they desire. Eat with gusto! [/print_this]