Pupusas and Unexpected Friendships

Over the summer in Nantucket I had the pleasure of getting to know a woman from El Salvador – Roxanne. We initially met when she came to help me rescue my house from years of neglect (that’s a story for another life) – But through the many hours of working together and bringing my house back, we developed a friendship – she is kind and warm and comfortable to be around. She has two daughters who love to bake and the girls and I spent many hours baking – what’s not to love? She taught me how to make this recipe from El Salvador – it is a corn meal pocket filled with anything you can imagine – it is called a Pupusas – Every culture seems to have a stuffed dough – Chimichangas, Dumplings, Raviolis, Wontons, Pierogi, Momo, Rangoon – to name a few. Many of these are fried or cooked in a broth. Pupusas are cooked on a hot griddle with no fat or oil. You make the dough much like you would make a pasta dough – it’s fast and healthy. You can make it ahead and freeze them (that’s if you don’t eat them all). You can fill them with a variety of things – the recipe below is the one that we used but you can literally use anything for a meal – these would be great stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese (for a breakfast version)! Or stuffed with Nutella and Bananas.

Here is to celebrating our diversity as a country that can be, sometimes, best appreciated, through food. The holiday season is upon us and it would be nice if we could all take a collective deep breath and celebrate what has made us such a great country. As a child of two immigrants (one first generation – the other second) I am thankful that this country opened its arms to my family – we fought for its freedoms and its ideals – and we were lifted up because of it.

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Pupusas

Ingredients

  • Corn Meal (or Masa)

  • 4 Chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs

  • 1 15 ounce can of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 medium white onion finely diced

  • 1 green pepper finely diced

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese (or cream cheese if you prefer)

  • A dash of Goya Adobe Seasoning.

  • Olive oil

Directions

Bake the chicken breasts or thighs at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove the skin and chop up and place in a food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to a fine mixture. Set aside.

Place 3 cups of corn meal in a bowl and add just enough water to make a dough. (see video) Take about two tablespoons of dough and form a patty about five inches around (literally in the cup of your hand) . To that patty add a few tablespoons of the ground chicken mixture and pinch together so that the seam is at the top of the dough. Flatten the filled dough into a disk and place on the hot griddle. Cook until brown on one side – flip over and cook until brown on the other side and place in a pre-heated 300 degree oven while you cook the rest of the Pupusas.

Serve with homemade salsa (see recipe below) and avocado.

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Homemade Salsa

  • 1 26 ounce can of tomatoes

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 1 chopped green pepper

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • ½ jalapeno pepper (or more if you like it really spicy)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Put cooled salsa into a blender and puree until completely broken down. Set aside. May be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Additional filling Inspiration:

  1. Spinach with Mozzarella cheese

  2. Zucchini with cheese

  3. Beans and cheddar cheese

  4. Ground beef with peppers, onions and cheese.

  5. Eggs, bacon, and cheese

  6. Banana and nutella