I know it’s a couple of different Tuesdays today and I know these Shredded Beef Sopes don’t mesh with any of them. Today is Fat or Shrove or Taco Tuesday, depending on where your allegiances lie. Maybe I should’ve been more topical. Maybe I should’ve made a bizarre pancake wrap and called it a Fat Shrove Taco, but I didn’t. Maybe I should’ve held back on these sopes for a Saturday or Sunday and launched my own food-themed day of the week, but I didn’t. Am I a rebel, a non-conformist or frequently unaware of the day’s date? Who knows? Either way, you’ll have to suffer through these sopes that are, indeed, neither tacos nor pancakes. But if you’re willing to break away from the pancake munching, taco touting crowd, keep on reading because these Shredded Beef Sopes are the tops.
First off, perhaps you’d like to know a little more about sopes. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what they are. My spell check kept correcting sopes to “hopes”, so they’re definitely not as ubiquitous as tacos. Sopes are savory corn cakes topped with various meats, beans, cheeses and a whack of veggies. They hail from Central and Southern Mexico where they are enjoyed as a popular street snack. They are typically deep fried, but mine are shallow fried because I am a wuss who couldn’t commit to the calories.
Like tacos and tostadas, sopes are a blank canvas. If you think you can eat it on a corn cake, you can put it on a corn cake. This is my favorite aspect of the sope, they allow for personal expression and provide a very real opportunity to clean out your fridge.
A little while back, I spent some time perfecting a Pozole Rojo recipe for a client of mine. What I took away from that experience was the realization that dried chiles are the bee’s knees. Since then I’ve been experimenting with numerous varieties and have settled on a hot chile paste recipe that I will probably use to flavor everything for the rest of my life. Well, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but I am really quite fond of it. It seemed only natural to include this revolution paste in my Shredded Beef Sopes, so I decide to do what is effectively a Mexican-esque pot roast.
After slow cooking the beef to fall apart perfection, I noticed there was an ample amount of cooking liquid left in the pot. Rather than let it go to waste, I cooked down a can of pinto beans in it. I added a little sugar to give the beans a flavor profile of their own and they wound up tasting a bit like molasses baked beans with a ton of heat. I only mention this to highlight the awesome, adaptable flavoring power of my dried chile paste and a bottle of beer.
As I said before, what I love about sopes is how adaptable they are. Sopes can accommodate just about any dietary restriction. The sopes themselves are gluten-free and vegan, and the toppings can be easily customized. If you’re keen to follow this recipe but you or someone you love is a vegetarian, feel free to drop the beef and cook up the beans in the dried chile paste and half a beer. It will be smashing, I promise.
If you’re a fan of tacos, tostadas or really any Mexican food, you’re going to be a fan of these Shredded Beef Sopes. They may not be Fat/Shrove/Taco Tuesday appropriate, but they taste pretty damn good.
- 1 boneless chuck roast
- 3 dried ancho chiles
- 2 dried Anaheim chiles
- 6 dried arbol chiles
- 1/2 white onion
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bottle Mexican beer (I used Modelo)
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 340 g (12 oz.) cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 jalapenos, roughly chopped
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Cooking liquid from Chile Braised Beef
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups hot water
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Shredded green cabbage
- Sliced radish
- Sliced jalapeno
- Sliced avocado
- Sour cream
- Lime Wedges
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towel. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Place chiles, garlic, white onion, water, cumin, oregano and salt in a large food processor. Blitz until a smooth paste forms. This should take 5-10 minutes.
- Heat a quarter-sized amount of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Sear beef on all sides and set aside. Deglaze the pot with the beer. Add the chile paste and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the beef. Spoon the cooking liquid over the beef. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, turning twice.
- Remove the beef from the pot and reserve the residual cooking liquid. Shred the beef using two forks. Tent the beef in foil until ready to use.
- Whisk vinegar, salt and sugar together in a small bowl. Add the onion. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour before using.
- Place all of the ingredients in a large food processor and blitz until the desired consistency is achieved. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Combine beans, sugar and reserved cooking liquid in a medium heavy bottom pot. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Remove the beans from the heat. Using a potato masher, mash the beans until smooth.
- Whisk masa harina and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Slowly add the water, stirring constantly until a dough forms.
- Roll the sope dough into 10-12 2-inch balls. Flatten the balls into discs and pinch the sides to form a lip. Place the sopes on a dry griddle or frying pan over low heat to warm them. About five minutes.
- Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a large cask iron frying pan over medium heat. When the oil reaches 350F, add the sopes and fry for 3 minutes a side or until golden brown.
- Place the finished sopes on a plate lined with paper towel. Keep warm in a 150F oven until ready to eat.
- Spread refried beans on sopes and top with shredded beef. Garnish with pickled red onions, salsa fresca, and any or all of the suggested garnishes. Enjoy with a cold beer!