Huaraches are my new favorite Mexican street food. But what's a huarache you ask? Picture a slightly thick, massively oversized homemade tortilla. Then picture this tortilla stuffed with refried beans. Then add more beans, spicy chorizo, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and tomatoes on top. Make it hot. Make it crisp. Make it over-the-top. And, thanks to Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace's new book, New York à la Cart, you can make this version, from Red Hook's popular Country Boys truck, in your own kitchen.
Why I picked this recipe: I'd never heard of huaraches before reading this book, but how can you go wrong with pan-fried masa, refried beans, chorizo, and cheese?
What worked: The combination of flavors and textures here is dynamite, and would make a perfect hangover helper, especially when topped with a fried egg.
What didn't: I never really got the hang of rolling these out without leaking beans in some places. Still, it didn't matter much for the final result. I did find it easier to stuff when the masa dough was on the wetter side (still not sticky). You'll need to play around a bit to find your groove.
Suggested tweaks: The Country Boys truck also serves a version of these huaraches with melted mozzarella cheese (or queso oaxco)—simply add the cheese to the huarache once it is flipped and let it melt before adding toppings. This version would be especially suitable for a vegetarian version without the chorizo.
Reprinted with permission from New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks by Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace. Copyright 2013. Published by Running Press, an imprint of The Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:makes 6
- Active time: 1 1/2 hours
- Total time:1 1/2 hours
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo
- 16 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) masa harina (corn flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup refried beans, divided
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce, coarsely chopped
- 5 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 5 teaspoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese
Heat a large cast-iron skillet on high for about 5 minutes. Remove chorizo from their casing and add to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and fry chorizo, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks. Cook until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain off grease. You can reserve grease to fry huaraches, if desired.
Place the masa harina in a large bowl and mix with salt. Slowly add about 2 1/4 cups water and mix with hands to reach right consistency. The dough should be soft but not sticky, and you may need to use more or less water. Form 6 roughly palm-size, egg-shaped balls. Press your fingers into the center of each one by hand into circles to form a deep trench in the center so the ball of dough resembles a canoe.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of beans to the middle of each ball of dough and pinch the dough to seal and restore the egg shape. Place dough on a large sheet of plastic wrap and press gently to flatten then cover with another large sheet of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin, to stretch the stuffed dough to form a large oval about 1/4-inch thick.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or reserved chorizo grease) to a flat grill or large cast-iron skillet and heat over medium-high for one minute. Carefully place huarache onto heated surface for about 3 minutes, flip over, and grill for another 2 minutes or until both sides are golden brown.
Spread with a couple of tablespoons of remaining refried beans. Top with chorizo, chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese.