Everyone knows the famous Mexican dishes: burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc. But there are many less heralded Mexican dishes as well, such as gringas, entomadas, and lengua. Here we will be looking into one of those lesser known dishes, as we learn how to make gorditas.
Gorditas are typically a small cake wrapped with masa tortillas and stuffed with items such as cheese or meat. The fillings are often liquid, such as a soup or stew, which the gordita can withstand thanks to its thick shell. One of the traditional gordita fillings is chicarrόn con chile, which is a spiced pork rind stew.
The word “gordita” in Spanish means “little fat one,” which accurately describes a gordita’s shape. Many people have heard of the gordita thanks to Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch, but if you want to learn how to make authentic shredded beef gorditas, check out this recipe from the Food Network!
Corn Masa Pockets with Classic Shredded Beef: Gorditas con Carne Deshebrada
- Ingredients 1 1/4 pounds boneless beef chuck steak, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 small white onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus oil to a depth of 1/2-inch for frying
- 1 (28-ounce) can good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped or 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
- 2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
- 1 pound (2 cups) fresh, smooth-ground corn masa for tortillas or 1 3/4 cups powdered masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 scant teaspoon baking power
- About 1/3 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other dry grating cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan
- About 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Combine the meat with 2 quarts salted water, about 1/3 of the onions, and half of the garlic in medium saucepan over medium heat
- Simmer for about an hour and a half so that the meat is very tender.
- Strain, reserving the broth for another use.
- When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it into coarse strands with your fingers or 2 forks.
- Wash and dry the saucepan, set it over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- When the oil is hot, add half of the remaining onions and cook for about 6 minutes or until golden.
- Stir in the remaining garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes and chiles and cook for about three minutes or until most of the juice has evaporated.
- Stir in the shredded meat and simmer for a few more minutes, then taste and season with about half of a teaspoon of salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Knead the masa until it is pliable, adding a little water if necessary to achieve a soft-cookie-dough consistency.
- Knead in the flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
- Divide the dough into ten portions and roll into balls.
- Cover the balls with plastic to keep from drying out.
- Line a tortilla press with two pieces of plastic cut to fit the plates (to be on the safe side, cut them from a food storage bag; the thicker plastic usually works better for beginners).
- Gently press out a ball of dough between the sheets of plastic to about 4 inches in diameter (it’ll be about 1/4 inch thick). Peel off the top sheet of plastic, flip the gordita, uncovered side down, onto the fingers of one hand, and gently peel off the second piece of plastic.
- In one flowing movement, roll the gordita off your hand and onto the heated griddle or skillet.
- Bake for about a minute and a half, then flip and bake for another minute and a half on the other side. The gordita will be lightly browned and crusty on the top and bottom, but still a little uncooked on the sides.
- Remove to a plate. Continue pressing and griddle-baking the remaining gorditas in the same manner.
Combining the Two
- When you’re ready to serve, warm the shredded beef.
- Rinse the remaining onions in a small strainer under cold water.
- Shake to remove the excess moisture. Have the cheese and cilantro at the ready.
- In a deep heavy medium skillet or saucepan, heat half an inch of oil over medium to medium-high until the oil is hot enough to make the edge of a gordita sizzle sharply, about 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
- One by one, fry the gorditas, turning them after they’ve been in the oil for about fifteen seconds, until they’re nicely crisp but not hard, about forty-five seconds total. When they’re ready, most will have puffed up a little, like pita bread. Drain on paper towels.
- Once they all are fried, use a small knife to cut a slit in the thin edge of each one about halfway around its circumference, opening a pocket. As you cut them, fill each gordita with about 1/4-cup shredded meat and a sprinkling of the onions, grated cheese, and cilantro.
That’s it, you have made Mexican Gorditas! If this process seems exhausting instead of fun, leave the Mexican cooking to the professionals at Mexicali. Check out our menu and feel free to drop by any of our locations!