Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Do you like Sopes?I like Sopes! Let's be friends!

Technically a "sope" is the ground corn shell that is the base for a dish which I have always known as Sopes.

It's probably not important to understand this unless you go to a grocery store looking for "sopes shells," as I have. When you stop a clerk in the store and ask for "sopes shells," the person will probably look at you, slack-jawed while mentally questioning your overall intelligence.

Then, suddenly, his or her eyes will brighten "Oh! You mean Sope!"

Think of it this way folks: It's like asking for "flour taco shells" instead of "tortillas." Alright, we're finished with our international language lesson. Let's get on with the eats.

I can't recommend enough that you go ahead and buy some instant corn masa mix to make your own Sopes shells. This is cheaper, for one thing, and tastes FANTASTIC for another. Your homemade shells will break down as you eat, providing a lovely corn flavor in each bite. Store-bought shells are faster, granted, but they sort of "crunch" rather than melt. You WANT melt. Trust me.

For the tomato topper on your Sopes, you can add a slice or a few diced bits. I'm not a fan of raw tomatoes, but I enjoy the slice on top for the sake of beauty ... My Guy wants diced bits because he actually likes the nasty little dirt-flavored fruits.

Finally, do not under any circumstances serve Sopes to a first date or anyone else who you are trying to impress.

However, if your Favorite Other Person has a relative who is often rude to you, this is a perfect dish. Better still if that same relative is in any way persnickity about his or her appearance.

Because these things are messy. Finger licking, several napkin using, you-really-should-buy-a-bib messy.

And well worth every drip, drop and dribble.


2 to 3 cups refried beans (homemade or 1 large can, heated)*
1 ½ lb ground beef
3 cloves garlic
5 Roma tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
4 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
Lettuce (approximately ½ large head, thinly sliced NOT torn into chunks)
2 whole limes, cut into eighths
Sour cream
One 16-count recipe of MASECA instant corn masa tortillas

Using the tortilla dough, form Sopes shells or “cups” by pinching up the edges of your roughly 6-inch tortillas. Using a fork, poke holes into the bottom of the raw shell and fry in a hot, oil-filled skillet. Sopes shells are done when they are golden brown or when oil surrounding shells stops vigorously boiling. Drain shells on a clean, unscented kitchen towel (towels which have been treated with rinse-cycle softener leach unpleasant-tasting chemicals into the shells).

While the shells are frying: Place beef into a large pot with coarsely-diced garlic, quartered and split onion, two quartered Roma tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cover this mixture with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until beef is cooked through.

When beef is finished, use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked meat from the liquid. In a bowl, crumble the ground beef (include some of the vegetables from the liquid, if preferred, but DO NOT discard liquid).
Cover the bottom of a fried shell with warm refried beans. Add approximately 1 ounce of crumbled beef (more or less, as preferred). Next, drizzle liquid from the beef pot onto the crumbled beef in the shell and top with lettuce, fresh-squeezed lime, sour cream, a Roma tomato slice and a pinch of ground sea salt.

*Homemade refried beans begin with cooked pinto beans, so you’ll need to start these the day before


  1. Brilliant, we don't have these, but can think of other things to serve to unwelcome visitors or if you want to have a giggle.....nasty or Annette x

  2. I'll be over in just a few! Are you serving those with Margarita's?? AKA - they look delicious and I will be trying them!! Have a wonderful evening!

  3. Hmmm those look so very yummy! I would be eating ALL the tomatoes, my fave! LOL