Yesterday, April 15th 2013--
I went to Boiceville, NY to do a presentation of Latin American Cooking at Onteora High School 9th and 11th graders.
I made basic Arroz y Habichuelas AND Pupusas. The Pupusas were the big hit. Everyone made their own. It was a uplifting experience! When I got in my car to leave, the Boston Marathon bombing was breaking news. It was, to say the least, a roller coaster day.
I proclaim that we all cheer up and cook for our loved ones every day!.
New World Pupusas
Pupusas are stuffed masa pancakes cooked on a griddle or in a skillet. The Cake is made from masa harina and water and the traditional fillings include fish, shredded meats, cheese and veggies. The sky is the limit. The most important factor in designing your own fillings is to consider texture. The corn dough is delicate; golden on the outside and smooth and almost creamy textured on the inside. A filling with too much crunch or chew would counter the sexy nature of the dough. Pupusas are accompanied with assertive and acidic Curtidos or salsas (see below).
You should have seen how proud my El Salvadorian Sous Chef Carlos Arroyo was when an article about our New World Pupusas graced the cover of a major restaurant industry magazine.
The following recipe makes 8-12 pupusas.
Each filling recipe will make 8-12 pupusas also.
Ric-ter scale – depends on the filling
3 cups Masa Harina
2 cups or more room temperature tap water
Mix the water and masa together with your hands. Fold and blend well. A soft, slightly sticky dough will form. It will feel like play-dough (remember?) Use more water if needed in small drops. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Prepare your filling of choice.
It’s easiest to use a tortilla press to flatten the masa dough but you can also use your hands.
Form a ball of dough about the size of a ping pong ball. Flatten to about 1/8 inch thick between sheets of plastic wrap. Repeat until you have 16-24 flattened tortillas. Keep between plastic wrap until ready to use.
Assemble the pupusa.
Remove the top layer of wrap from one tortilla.
Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling into the center of the tortilla.
Top with another (unwrapped, obviously) tortilla and pinch around the edges to seal. The masa will seal itself. Press the stuffing down gently with the palm of your hand.
Cook the Pupusa:
In a large lightly oiled skillet or griddle at medium heat cook the pupusa gently on one side until golden, flip and finish---sort of like grilled cheese. Pretty easy once you get the hang of it, isn’t it?
Leftover Turkey Pupusa Filling
Ric-ter scale - 3
1 cup cooked fresh turkey meat, light and /or dark, fork shredded
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cup lime juice
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Simmer all ingredients except the cheese for 15 minutes. Strain liquid.
Fill each pupusa with a small sprinkling of cheese and a scant tablespoon of the turkey filling.
Black Bean & Smoked Salmon Filling
Ric-ter scale - 4
1/2 cup refried black beans (see our recipe on page xx)
4 oz smoked salmon slices, minced
2 tablespoon chopped scallions
4 tablespoon soft goat cheese
2 tablespoon chopped mint
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients together loosely and fill pupusas.
Shrimp & Green Salsa Filling
Ric-ter scale - 5
6 oz. fresh shrimp, peeled, and deveined
1/4 cup salsa verde (see recipe below)
8-12 small sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
In a skillet, cook the shrimp quickly in olive oil until pink and lightly caramelized. Squeeze the juice of the lime on the shrimp to season and cool the cooking process. Chop the shrimp finely.
Mix shrimp and salsa verde in equal amounts.
Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on bottom tortilla, add a scant tablespoon of shrimp filling. Top with a small sprig of cilantro and add a pinch more of the cheese.
Steamed Veggie and Chipotle Cream Cheese Filling
Ric-ter scale - 3
8 string beans, julienne
1 carrot, peeled and julienne
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienne
1 fresh tomato, small dice
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1 cup chipotle cream cheese (see recipe) or Boursin cheese
Lightly steam and cool the julienne veggies. Dice finely.
Put a teaspoon of cream cheese on the bottom pupusas.
Top with a small amount of julienne veggies, a sprinkle of rosemary, a few pieces of diced tomato and a 1/2 teaspoon more of cream cheese on top.
Chipotle Cream Cheese
Ric-ter scale - 5
This versatile spread will find its way into your breakfast, lunch and dinner repertoire.
2 cups cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon pureed garlic
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary-minced
2 chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon chipotle adobo juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup safflower oil
Puree all ingredients in your food processor until smooth. With the machine running add the milk and then the oil very slowly. Store chilled and covered. Last for two weeks refrigerated.
Ric-ter scale - 5
This simple salsa is ever popular and is great with an and all grilled foods, tamales or as a dressing for cold fish, too!
To make the salsa....
12 medium tomatillo, husked
8 serrano or 6 jalapeno chiles
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 medium garlic clove, smashed
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups cilantro, small stems and leaves minced end to end.
In a small pot put 1 quart of water bring to a boil. Add all ingredients except the cilantro and remove from heat. Let stand until water in cool enough to handle. Put all of the solids in a blender with the cilantro and blend on high speed. Use as much of the water as you need to make a smooth pourable salsa.