Monday, December 7, 2009
Shredded Chicken Gorditas
Louisville is definitely not known for it's streetfood like other cities. We're still experimenting with that area of food. I mean, I've seen various hot dog vendors on street corners downtown, and there's the Nathan's Hot Dog stand on Bardstown Rd. next to the bars. But if you go to Fern Creek, there's this hidden gem of a street food stand, that we like to call "The Taco Truck." I'm sure it has a real name, but there is no sign, there is no advertising. There's just a blue tent in front of a trailer pulled by a big F-150 Ford truck. And it sit in front of a Mexican grocery, so it must be authentic, right? The quesadillas were phenomenal, especially for about $2 a pop. A steal, right? One thing Andy did get, that he didn't like was their gorditas. Stuffed beef pockets that he said "tasted like a boot." I said that was a little harsh, and when I took a bite... he was right. So maybe Taco Bell has something on a good ol' fashioned Mexican gordita eh? I'd hope not. That is not even close. Actually, a gordita can be stuffed or topped. A common misconception among us Americanized Taco Bell loving beings. So when I saw this recipe for homemade gorditas in November's Food & Wine I knew I had to do the Taco Truck justice.
From Nov. 2009 Food & Wine - "Gorditas"
2 cups masa harina
1 & 1/4 cups water (or a little more if your mixture is too dry)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
shredded chicken (recipe follows)
Ingredients for shredded chicken:
(I sort of just winged this one and put it whatever I thought would taste good)
4-5 chicken breasts
1/4 cup tequila
3 tablespoons honey
1 jalapeno, chopped (leave as many seeds as you see fit in there, if you don't like it spicy, either leave out or deseed)
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 cup chicken broth
You definitely need to start the chicken first. I put all the ingredients in my slow cooker (love that thing!) and let sit on the high setting for a few hours. As the chicken cooks, start to shred it and let it simmer in the juices. WARNING: it's going to make your house smell AWESOME!
Ok, when the chicken is at or near done, you can start making your gorditas. In a large bowl, mix the masa harina, water, and 1/4 cup of oil. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and roll into a thick log. How thick? Well that just depends on how big you want your gorditas to be. Mine were about 3-4 inches in diameter (after flattening, so about 2-3 inch thick log). Divide the log into 1 inch slices. I got about 12 gorditas with this, and this was plenty for 3 people.
Flatten each gordita either with a rolling pin, or you could be more rustic and use your hands like I did. Be careful though, the dough will be VERY fragile so you kind of have to be gentle and loving with it.
Heat a large skillet or griddle under high heat and cook gorditas in batches (I found that 3 at a time fit in the pan nicely) for about 2 minutes per side. Set aside on plate as each one is done. When all gorditas are cooked, either wait until skillet gets cool or get out new skillet if you can't wait. Place enough oil in the skillet to bring it about 1/4 inch up the pan. If you do this with the hot skillet, you'll probably burn yourself, so that's why I said to either get a new skillet or wait until the other one cools. It's all about safety first, right? Right.
When oil is hot enough for frying, add the gorditas, in batches again, and fry for about 2 minutes per side, when they're nice and golden. When each is done, press the center with a spoon to kind of make a little indentation. Dry on paper towel-lined plate.
Top the indentations with the shredded chicken, sour cream, salsa, cheese, and whatever else you'd like to top it with. The toppings are really endless.
The verdict? I'm pretty sure I could sell these on the street. It's a compact little bite that can even be served as an appetizer, depending on how small or big you make the gorditas. They were crispy, and you could taste the corn in the flour, which for some reason, always reminds me of truly authentic Mexican food. I'd definitely recommend these for anyone! Enjoy!