One stellar member of the wide, wonderful world of Mexican masa-based dishes is the sope, a thin, shallow shell of corn dough that's fried until just crisp on the outside but hot and tender inside, then piled high with any number of meat-based fillings. One of our favorites is this traditional potato-chorizo filling, crisped up in a pan hash-style then drizzled with a light and refreshing avocado-lime crema.
Why this recipe works:
- Frying the sope shells delivers enough heat to activate the baking powder in the dough, creating a light, puffy interior and a just-crisp exterior.
- Chorizo, a Mexican pork and paprika sausage, delivers so much flavor that the filling's only other ingredients are potatoes and onions.
- Smashing the potato, chorizo, and onion in a cast-iron skillet turns them both crunchy and soft, just like the best hash browns.
- Ripe avocados, fresh lime juice, and crema—three essential Mexican ingredients—come together in a lightning-fast sauce that completes the dish.
Note: Masa freezes beautifully. After forming sope shells (see Step 1), place extras on a baking sheet in a single layer for 1 hour, then transfer to a zipper-lock bag or airtight container and store in freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, set sope shells on a plate at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then proceed with recipe.
- Yield:Makes 15 sopes, serving about 4 people
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed
- 1 small white onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 recipe masa dough
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons Mexican crema
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 limes
- Chopped cilantro leaves, for serving
Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water by one inch, and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring potatoes to a boil over high heat, then cover partially, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, add chorizo to a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces, until fat begins to render, about 1 minute. Add onion and continue cooking, stirring and breaking up chorizo, until chorizo is cooked through and onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add drained potatoes to skillet. Cook, smashing filling down and then scraping it up, until filling is browned and crusty, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
Scoop avocado into a small bowl and mash until completely smooth. Add crema and lime juice and whisk to combine. Transfer to a small bowl or squeeze bottle and refrigerate.
Divide masa into 15 balls. Press each ball into a disk approximately 4-inches wide and 1/4-inch thick. Use your fingertips to form a slight lip around the edge of each disk. Transfer sope shells to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with a towel.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large wok or Dutch oven to 350°F. Working in batches, fry sope shells, turning once, until golden brown and just crisped on the outside, about 4 minutes. Transfer fried shells to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining shells.
Arrange drained sope shells on a platter and heap about two tablespoons chorizo filling on each. Drizzle with avocado crema, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.