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Sopaipillas are 400 Yeas Old This Year and Free Offer

By Jane Butel  April 21, 2020

If you have ever been to a New Mexican restaurant in the Albuquerque area, you were most probably served some sopaipillas to go with your meal.  Did you know this is the 400 year anniversary of the sopaipilla?  

They were first made and served to all those attending the church service at the San Francisco de Neri church in Old Town Albuquerque.  The entry in a very old diary in the historic collection of the Albuquerque Library reads like this "on a warm, balmy afternoon in April, 1620, we made sopaipillas for the first time to serve to those attending church."

The church's had been rather recently built by the Spanish clergy.  The Hispanic women developed the idea of serving them as a thank you token for those attending the service and further as a token of appreciation for all the help that the native Americans had been giving them.  The Pueblo Indians had shared with the Spanish, the ways to cook and eat the native foods.

Sopaipillas are deep fried squares of a simple bread dough that becomes hollow when fried.  The custom is to tear them in two and place honey in the middle.  They are quite delicious when served with the chile laden native foods as any food that is fried and any sweet food quell the ouch of too hot spicy food.

We do have a Sopaipilla mix that we are placing on sale to make it easier for you to enjoy them first hand.  When frying them, use a vegetable oil such as corn or soy based heated to 375 F and roll the dough about the same thickness as pie pastry.  If the dough is rolled too thin, they will not puff and likewise, if rolled too thick they won't puff.  When frying them, make sure, using a tongs to secure the edges--that you keep the top of the dough suspended underneath the surface of the hot oil, until it puffs, then turn.   Fry to a light golden brown and enjoy.

Sopaipillas can be stuffed with savory mixtures that you use for tacos.

We are still planning on going to Oaxaca.  Indications are that we should be able to go the end of August or September.   I plan to reschedule soon.

As soon as everyone is free to move around, I will be rescheduling the Chile and Chocolate class. 

Keep tuned, I will be posting the dates in this blog and on my website home page. 

Our free offer is, we will tuck into your order of $20.00 or more, a free package of our chile or tomatillo seeds.  It will soon be time to plant them directly into the soil.  You may specify which kind of seeds you prefer.

Here's our recipe for the favorite local entree--Red Chile Beef Enchiladas made open faced.

Red Chile Beef Enchiladas
(Rolled or Open Faced)

This is one of my very favorite dishes, especially when made with blue corn tortillas.  It is a popular custom in New Mexico to place a soft-fried egg on top of each enchilada as soon as they come out of the oven.

Yield:  4-6 servings

Vegetable oil, optional
12 white, yellow or blue corn tortillas
2 cups Red Chile Sauce (recipe attached), made with beef
About 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped (may be cooked into the sauce)
4 to 6 eggs (optional), soft fried
6 to 8 lettuce leaves (optional), coarsely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes (optional), cut in wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  If rolling the torillas, heat ½ inch of oil in a heavy skillet.  Add tortillas and fry lightly in batches, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll.  If making flat enchiladas, frying if unnecessary.  Warm 4 plates in the preheated oven.

2. For Flat Enchiladas:  Place a little chile sauce on a warmed plate, then top with a tortilla followed by cheese, onion, and more sauce.  Repeat once or twice more, making a stack of 2 or 3 tortillas layered with cheese, onion, and sauce (see Note).  Top each enchilada with more sauce and cheese.  Place in the preheated oven until the cheese melts.  Top with an egg, if desired, and garnish with the chopped lettuce and tomato wedges.  These are traditional open faced style.

3. For Rolled Enchiladas:  Dip a lightly fried tortilla into the sauce and place a strip each of shredded cheese and chopped onion down the center.  Roll up, place 2 rolled enchiladas on each warmed plate, and top with more sauce and cheese.  Place in oven until cheese melts.  Arrange lettuce around the edges before serving.

Note:  Three tortillas make a very hearty serving.  Most people prefer two.

Red Chile Sauce 

This is the basic red chile sauce used to create enchiladas and to serve over burritos, chile rellenos, tamales, and chimichangas.

Yield:  2-1/2 cups

2 tablespoons butter, lard or bacon drippings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground mild red chile
1/4 cup ground hot red chile
2 cups beef stock or water
1 garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of ground Mexican oregano
Pinch of ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt (if not using stock)

1. Melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and stir until smooth and slightly golden.

Remove pan from heat and add ground chiles.  Return to heat and gradually stir in stock.  Add garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt, if using, and cook, stirring, about 10 minutes.  Simmer at least 5 more minutes for flavors to blend.

Sauté 1 pound ground beef, or beef cut in very small cubes.  Omit the shortening, and continue as directed above.  Use for enchiladas.




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