Y’all know that I like to head to the drive-thru window to see the latest thing they’ve got and what I can do with it. Today I’m talking about gorditas – and these authentic, masa based Mexican gorditas are nothing like what you can get in the drive- They’re kind of like a Mexican hot pocket, but so much better.
Masa vs. Corn Meal
When you go to the grocery store, the corn masa should be near the corn meal and the flour. Corn masa is a special kind of dough flour that is made when corn kernels are heated and mixed with ash and lime in a truly ancient process called nixtamalization – Shan thinks I made that up, but it’s true. The ash and lime soften the kernels up enough to where they can be ground into a beautiful fine powder that puts corn meal to shame and makes a perfect corn tortilla or gordito.
You’ll start with the masa in a bowl and slowly add the warmed liquid to it, mixing it with your hands until you have a moist, pliable dough that is soft and is not crumbly when you fold it together. I like to add a little extra baking powder to help these pop in the skillet. Once you’ve got the dough formed, use your fingers to make a well in the center. Cover the dough tightly.
TIP: Cover the dough – not the bowl – tightly with plastic wrap to avoid any moisture rising to the top and evaporating.
Set this aside for about 45 minutes, while we put together the filling.
cover a couple potatoes in water and set it to boil. When the potatoes are fork tender, just set them aside to cool off. It makes no difference right now whether you peel it or not.
Crumble the potato up with your hands. To start to cook the filling, heat your cast iron with some bacon grease and start with the onion. Add the jalapeno after a couple of minutes and, when both are soft, add the garlic. Mix in your potato and the spices and cook while all of those delicious flavors combine. The Red River Ranch Mesquite seasoning is perfect for this recipe because the ancho chile flavor in the seasoning adds a warm smokiness without adding any heat. Right at the end, add that bacon in and let the flavors all simmer together for a while on low.
TIP: Don’t mash the potatoes until completely smooth, keep them slightly chunky.
Back to the Dough
Now – go ahead and remove the plastic wrap from the dough. The well you made with your fingers is going to be larger now. You can fill it with oil, lard, or bacon grease. I like to use butter. Pour a little of the butter into the well and use your hands to just incorporate that fat all throughout the masa. Now we’re ready to finish these beauties.
The dough in the gordita actually has the filling folded in to it before cooking and also added to it again after cooking to make it like a taco, with the filling and some of the cheese baked into the shell.
Stay with me here, it’s genius and delicious and you are going to love it.
Divide the dough into equal portions. You want each ball of dough to be a little larger than a golfball.
Pick one up and use your hands to mold the dough into a soft ball. Make it a little cup with your thumbs and fill with a spoonful of the filling we’ve prepared and some queso fresco. Fold the filling into the dough well several times.
Place each ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper and flatten into a soft patty, almost like a hamburger. You want it about as thick as a store-bought hamburger bun, flattened just enough to be able to slice down the center and fill with delicious food.
Tip: You’ll pan fry these in the leftover grease from the bacon for great flavor. You’ll know when the gorditas are done when they are firm to the touch and have browned up slightly.
Once cooked, slice down the middle – leaving the bottom part sealed – and fill with the prepared filling. Top with cheese, crema and salsa – or anything you want. The beauty of this recipe is that you can fill it with any kind of meat or vegetable that you want to and it will be knock-your-socks-off good!
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Gorditas - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 2 to 2 ¼ cups corn masa
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 medium Russet potatoes peeled
- 6 slices bacon cooked and chopped (reserve the grease)
- 3 jalapenos stemmed seeded and chopped
- 1 white onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 teaspoons Kent’s Mesquite seasoning or your favorite all purpose blend
- 2 tablespoon butter melted
- Crumbled queso fresco cheese
- Table crema salsa for topping
- Add the water and chicken broth to a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat.
- In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the masa, salt and baking powder. Slowly begin stirring in the water mixture until a soft all forms that isn’t sticky. If needed, you can add more masa to achieve the desired consistency. Lightly knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes with your hands.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and form a small well in the middle of the dough. Tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and let cool slightly. Roughly mash the potatoes with your hands or a fork until slightly chunky.
- In a large skillet add the reserved bacon grease and onions and cook for about 4 minutes or until they start to become tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the jalapenos and cook for another 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat down to low and stir in the garlic cloves. Cook for about 1 minute then stir in the mashed potatoes. Stir in the chopped bacon, Mesquite seasoning and cumin. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the wrap from the dough and pour the butter into the well. Fold the dough and knead until the butter has been incorporated well.
- Pinch the dough off into about 2 ½ -inch balls. Lightly pat the balls out to form a small bowl. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture from the skillet onto the dough and 1 tablespoon of queso fresco. Fold the dough around the mixture and knead with your hands to incorporate into the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
- Place each ball in between 2 sheets of waxed paper and mash down into a 5-inch wide circle that is ½-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining balls.
Add the gordita dough dough to a large cast iron skillet over low heat. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, flipping occasionally, or until they are firm to the touch and lightly browned. Remove and set on a wire rack.
Slice the gorditas halfway down and stuff with the leftover mashed potato filling. Top with queso fresco, crema and salsa. Serve immediately.