Mexico Comfort and Street Food are probably one of my favourites, the freshness and flavoursome variety of dishes easy to make are outstanding, this style of food has incredibly spread across the globe. From burritos to the iconic tortillas, Mexican food has found its way into many modern kitchens. Among the snacks that are popular in Mexican street food, there is the Sopes de Pollo.
Sopes are basically a dough that is made from corn flour which is also known as “masa harina”. Indeed, the words Sopes De Mas mean “pinched edge.” After the dough has been flattened into a disc shape, the borders are pinched to form a container. Into this dough container, you can stuff various types of topping.
The Sopes-making begins with making a thick flattened dough bed before adding a border to it. When making Sopes in the traditional way, the edge of the Sope is pinched with the fingers while it is still hot. The more modern version is to use two spoons to do your pinching and create the border.
Chicken is a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine. It is often found in soups, main courses and snacks or street food.
Sopes Mexicanos (Origin and Curiosities)
These delicacies are part of pre-Hispanic food. They are believed to have originated in the central and southern regions of Mexico. However, they are part of mainstream Mexican street food which means they can be bought as snacks on the streets.
Today’s Sopes De Pollo is made with great versatility. At the heart of this tortilla-like snack, is chicken. This is usually chicken that has been leftover from a previous meal. The chicken is then shredded before it is added to the sopes de pollo. Other sauces and ingredients make up the final flavorful sope.
Sopes de Pollo is mostly eaten as a starter to the main meal although they can make the main meal too. The Sopes De Pollo is a sope that contains chicken as one of its ingredients. Other types of Sopes can contain meat such as pork, beef or mutton. Newer culinary fads have brought up vegetable and vegan Sopes as well.
Sopes De Tinga
Another popular Mexican dish is the Tinga. Originating from Pueblo in Mexico, the Tinga is a fusion of Mexican and European cooking methods as well as ingredients from the two cultures. The main ingredient in the Tinga is chicken. This is shredded cooked chicken that is then turned into a thick and nutritious stew.
To make Tinga, onions and garlic are sautéed before adding tomatoes. Next, stock and a mixture of herbs and spices are added as the mixture is left to simmer. When a thick sauce has formed, you add the pre-cooked chicken with Chipotle Chile.
Chipotle Chile is a seasoned pepper that is made with Jalapeno pepper. The pepper is sun-dried on mats after harvesting. After drying, they are smoked before they are rehydrated and pickled in Adobo sauce. The sauce contains vinegar and spices.
Tinga is often eaten as a chicken stew that is quite flavorful. There is the set formula and ingredients that are used to prepare the Tinga. When it is served as the topping on a Sope, it is known as a Sope De Tinga.
The Tinga must be thick enough not to turn your Sope mushy. On your Sope, the Tinga will often rest on a bed of refried beans. It can have cream, cheese, salsa, avocado or other toppings added for that extra punch.
Sopes De Picadillo
“Picar” is Spanish meaning “to mince”, in Mexican Cuisine though it means “minced” and “spiced” meat. In many recipes, the words minced beef are interchangeable with the words ground beef. Sope De Picadillo has minced meat at its heart. The most common meat is beef although this rule is not cast in stone. Commonly cooked as a stew that contains potatoes and tomatoes, this stew is popular across Latin America.
As a stew, Picadillo often serves as a stew for rice dishes. However, since it can come in many flavours and cooking styles, your Picadillo often acts as a filling for tacos and other snacks. In many Mexican homes, you will find that the family has a recipe for their Picadillo that has remained in the family for a long time.
If you are a fan of spicy food, you can consider adding jalapenos to your minced beef or even chipotle sauce. Other favorite ingredients are cumin and garlic. The addition of broth to your Picadillo will enhance the flavour of the particular meat used in your dish.
In the southern parts of Mexico, it is common to find Picadillo that contains olives, capers and raisins. Although more complex to make, the flavors are certainly worth the extra work you should always remember to break up the larger chunks of ground beef for a more evenly cooked dish.
If you choose to use the Picadillo as a topping for your Sope, you get the Sope De Picadillo. The difference between your Sope De Pollo and Your Sope De Picadillo lies in the ingredients used and the texture of the meat. Sope De Pollo uses shredded chicken while the Sope De Picadillo uses minced beef. Their commonality lies in the masa Sope base.
Alternatives to ground beef for those who do not want to eat red meat are ground turkey and pork. However, for authentic taste, the potatoes and tomato sauce should be included. As mentioned, the flavours will depend on individual preferences.
Sopes De Pollo Recipe
Before you begin cooking your Sopes De Pollos, collect all the ingredients and choose the freshest ones you can find. It is also noteworthy that corn or masa harina is a very good choice for people who want to avoid gluten in their food.
The following is a Mexican Sopes De Pollo recipe that will wow your guests or family.
- 1-pound boneless chicken breast or thighs
- 5 oz. refried pinto beans
- 1 red onion chopped
- 18-ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup lettuce chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 Jalapeno pepper or Serrano chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 container sour cream
- 1 avocado cubed
- Queso fresco crumbled
- Vegetable oil
- Paprika to taste
- 1 Lime to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the chicken under running water. Next, carefully place it in a pot with enough water to cover it. Boil over medium heat for 20 minutes. When it is done, remove it from heat and let it cool. Set aside ½ a cup of the broth the chicken was boiled in. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Once done, set the chicken aside. If you do not have your sopes de pollo ready, you can make them at this point.
- Chop the peppers, onions, lettuce, cilantro and, garlic. Chop the avocado into cubes and sprinkle the cubes with lime juice. This prevents discoloration of the avocado. Set all these ingredients aside. A word of caution; do not rub your eyes after chopping up the pepper.
- Add two tablespoons of oil to a pan and let it heat for a minute over medium heat; add the chopped onion and the bell pepper together with the Serrano. After you sauté for five minutes, add the garlic. Let it cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture so that the ingredients are well mixed. Add the can of tomato sauce and the ½ cup of chicken broth you had reserved. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the broth has evaporated.
- Mix 2 cups of instant masa cornflour with ¼ cup of water in a bowl. With clean hands, knead the mixture until you form a soft, uniform dough with no lumps. The dough should not stick to your fingers. Neither should it be too dry.
- Roll about 2 inch balls of dough and place a ball at a time in a Ziploc bag. Flatten with a rolling pin. Cut the flat dough into a disc by pressing down the rim of a glass or using a biscuit cutter. Remove the disc from the Ziploc and remove the dough scraps that you have stripped off. These should be returned to the bowl for forming more balls.
- Repeat the process for all the balls. When all the dough circles are formed, lay them on a tray and cover them with a damp paper towel to keep them moist.
Forming the Sopes
- Add a teaspoon of oil to a cast iron pan and spread it using a napkin. Heat the pan over medium heat until it is quite hot. Add two of your sope disks to the pan and cook for three to four seconds before flipping them over and cooking the other side.
- Pinch the border of the sopes to form a wall. The dough is hot and so some people use two spoons to form the wall. In most Mexican kitchens, fingers are used. You must work quickly before the dough hardens. That is why you should not have more than two sopes on the pan.
- Repeat the process for all your dough discs. Set the finished sopes de pollo aside on a tray.
- Heat the refried beans in a saucepan for a couple of minutes on medium heat or in the microwave for a minute. Add 1 tablespoon of the beans to each sope and spread.
- Add the chicken mixture over the beans in each sope. Mix lettuce, tomato and remaining red onion as a salad topping and add to each sope.
- Slice queso fresco, crumble it with the fingers before adding to the sope.
- Add sour cream and avocado cubes to each sope (optional)
- Garnish with cilantro
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