We journey to El Salvador for dinner. Courtesy of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, we are trying a recipe for papusas tonight. Pupusas are similar to corn tortillas, only thicker and stuffed with cheese, beans or meat. The pupusa originated in El Salvador, but it is also popular in neighboring Honduras. Pupusas are traditionally made by slapping the dough back and forth between greased palms. A tortilla press is quicker and easier for beginners. That works for me! I happen to have one I bought a few weeks ago. Traditionally papusas are served with a pickled cabbage side dish called curtido with salsa roja on the side. Salsa roja is not a Mexican style salsa rather an oregano flavored mild tomato sauce. I researched all the different varieties of papusa fillings and settled on a pulled pork with cheese. A nice pork shoulder roast in the crock-pot for five hours yielded some juicy pulled pork. I went with a Mexican style cotija cheese blend to go with the pork. They were delicious. I made mine big since we were having them for dinner. Michael ate two and I almost finished one. The sauce was wonderful and the pickled cabbage a perfectly crunchy accompaniment. Follow along for the recipes and pictures of the steps involved. Not only were they tasty but I had fun all day making them!
- 3 lb boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into four inch cubes
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil — 3 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped — 1/4 cup
- Garlic, chopped — 1 clove
- Serrano or jalapeño chile pepper, chopped — 1
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped — 2 cups
- Dried oregano — 2 teaspoons
- Salt and pepper — to taste
- Cilantro (optional), chopped — 1/4 cup
- Cabbage, shredded — 1/2 head
- Carrot, peeled and grated — 1
- Boiling water — 4 cups
- Scallions, minced — 3
- White vinegar — 1/2 cup
- Water — 1/2 cup
- Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, minced — 1
- Salt — 1/2 teaspoon
- Masa harina — 2 cups
- Warm water — 1 cup
- Filling — 1 cup
In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, one tablespoonful at a time if needed, to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Place the ball on the tortilla press between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Continue until all eight balls are pressed into rounds. If you don’t have a tortilla press, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it out with a rolling pin.
Place the round with the filling over the top of the filled one and secure the edges. Heat a greased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done. Serve with the cabbage and salsa roja.