When you dine at a typical Mexican restaurant, you’re probably already familiar with the usual offerings of enchiladas, tacos, refried beans, and rice, right? It’s kind of ironic that many dishes served in most of today’s Mexican joints are actually of American origin by way of Texas or California. We Americans have put our own twists on the originals over the years and have since labeled them “Mexican food”.
To get a little more authentic taste of South of the Border cuisine, try out the following recipe for Mexican sopes, a zesty appetizer that will have you ditching your old gringo go-to of nachos and chimichangas.
Sopes are handheld Mexican street food dish made from a dough made of masa flour (dried and finely ground corn) that are flattened, typically fried, then topped with either meat or beans and salsa. This version of the classic Mexican dish sees the little masa “boats” baked instead of fried — saving you some calories and a greasy mess on your stove top. I chose to use flavorful Mexican chorizo sausage for the filling and topped it with a Yucatecan-style (i.e.: from the Yucatan Peninsula) sauce comprised of toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro and habanero pepper. These sopes can be made any size you please — form smaller ones for appetizer servings and larger ones if you’re serving them as a snack or main course.
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Carne guisada (CAR-nay gee-SA-da) is a Mexican-style beef stew that hails primarily from south Texas. It’s main ingredient is cubed beef stew meat that is braised low and slow for hours with varying combinations of chilies, onions, tomatoes, and spices. The flour used to coat the seared meat causes the sauce to end up thickening to a gravy-like consistency. While fantastic on its own, served straight up in a bowl with a spoon, carne guisada also makes a savory taco or burrito filling.
For this version of carne guisada, I gave it an injection of Hatch chile flavor with Stubb’s new Hatch Chile Cookin’ Sauce pack. The package comes with a Cookin’ sauce, which I used for the braising, a spice packet, which I used to saute the vegetables with, and a Finishing Sauce, which I stirred into the thickened gravy sauce just before serving. This trio gives a fun, updated kick of flavor to this classic Tex-mex comfort food dish. Best of all, everything but the meat and veggies come in one package. The second best part about this dish is that you can easily use a slow cooker to do most of the work — just set it and forget it. A few hours later, you’ll have the makings of an incredibly flavorful meal.
I suggest serving this Hatch carne guisada on or with a side of warm tortillas, limes for squeezing on top of the meat, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and crumbled Mexican cotija cheese.
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