Monday, October 29, 2007

Pupusa Frenzy

Now that I have a child in school I am beginning to get used to last minute announcements relating to school assignments and projects. The latest was the proyecto cultural for The Dark Lord's Spanish class. I love that his teacher asks the students to think about the language outside the classroom but the announcement came during a very harried day which included a number of hastily changed plans, evening classes, a child care scramble--nothing unusual, but having to come up with an interesting yet simple dish with a little sabor latino was not exactly compelling at 9 pm when everyone was finally back home and The Dark Lord was able to focus on the task at hand.

Given our time frame, most of the delicious Latin American dishes I know were not in the running. Tamales and enchiladas were simply too complicated. My delicious posole verde was out because The Dark Lord doesn't think much of it (I suspect it's too nutritious). Racking my brain I suggested pupusas which require little more than masa harina, water, oil, and a bit of something to tuck inside.
With a fresh bag of masa harina from Bob's Red Mill, we were in business. A little salt and some water, and we had something the consistency of Play-Doh. We pulled out plum-sized balls, put in a bit of filling made of shredded cheddar and roasted green chile, pulled the edges of the dough up around the filling to cover, and flattened them into discs before slipping them into hot oil where they cooked, about 4 minutes per side until golden. We drained the pupusas on paper towels and then gobbled the down. Here you see The Dark Lord attempting to shove a too-hot pupusa into a mouth tender with new orthodontia. Not the recommended technique. Since the pickiest of The Picky Ones was away with a friend all weekend we decided take The Dark Lord out to give professional pupusas a try at El Palenque, Portland's venerable Salvadoran restaurant. We ordered a vegetarian family meal for 4 which included pupusas, fried yuca, a tamal, fried plantains with cream, black beans, rice, and banana empanadas, and the delicious sweet cheese bread Salvadorans call quesadilla which has nothing to do with the Mexican variety. It was a delicious meal but, interestingly, The Dark Lord decided he liked his pupusas better than those made by the little old Salvadoran lady who had no doubt been making them for decades. So last night, another batch, these filled with shredded cheddar and sliced scallions and served alongside the posole verde, which proved to be an ideal combination.

The recipe is here.


catherine said...

Sounds like the perfect fall food. I'm thinking of adding scrambled eggs to the chile/cheese combo for a brunch pupusa. YUM! Perhaps the Dark Lord can take over one night/week in the kitchen.....he obviously has the skills!

Lisa said...

I've never had a pupusa, but they sound yummy. I will have to give your posole verde a try. I'm a native New Mexican, so posole holds a special place in my heart.

burekaboy — said...

sounds like something i need to try out. thanks for good instructions and pictures to go with it