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Corn Masa Sopes and Tomatillo Sauce

Updated on September 23, 2012
Make delicious sopes and green sauce!
Make delicious sopes and green sauce! | Source

Sopes Are Delicious

I grew up eating sopapillas, pozole, enchiladas, tacos, tostadas and more. My mom hails from New Mexico and cooked many southwestern meals for our family.

I was surprised, however, that I had not tried sopes (pronounced “so-pays”) until I came across a recipe for it in the Hippy Gourmet’s Quick and Simple Cookbook. It piqued my curiosity, so I made it for the first time a couple of years ago.

I was taken aback: I used the freshest ingredients I could find, and I couldn’t believe the explosion of delicious flavors, from the beans to the corn to the sauces. I knew immediately this meal would become a staple for my own family.

It’s a bit labor-intensive, but so worth the effort. Depending on how many people you’re making this for, you’ll have dinner for three nights or more, plus some leftovers for lunch.

This recipe uses corn flour, also known as masa. This is the same ingredient that people use to make corn tortillas.

Since finding the original recipe, I’ve modified it according to my own tastes. Join me on my journey of making southwestern sopes with an incredible green sauce that your taste buds are sure to crave again and again. The rich flavors definitely embody an incredible history of wonderful foods that come from the Americas.

See the tips and tricks below for some shortcuts and variations on this dish.

© C. Calhoun 2012. All rights reserved.

5 stars from 4 ratings of Corn Sopes with Tomatillo Sauce

Cook Time

  • Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
  • Ready in: 2 hours 30 min
  • Yields: 6 - 8 servings, two sopes per person

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (2 lb.) pinto beans, dry
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 8 tomatillos, paper skin removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime, juiced (you'll just need the juice)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded
  • 2 ½ cups masa
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin (use only the part near the root)
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or thawed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¾ cup water, lukewarm
  • 1 tsp cumin, powdered (optional)
  • 2 tsp garlic salt, (optional)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese or queso fresco
  • 1 tomato, sliced (optional)
Fresh tomatillos from the garden.  Their papery skin is still attached.
Fresh tomatillos from the garden. Their papery skin is still attached. | Source

Have you ever tried sopes and tomatillo sauce?

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Instructions: Make the Beans

I don’t use pork, bacon or ham bones in my batches of beans. I take a more vegetarian approach and I feel like I still come up with truly robust and flavorful batches.

You need to get the beans going the day before, so that they’re cooked and ready by the time you go to make this meal.

You can also use a pressure cooker to cook them. That will cut down on the cook time significantly. Follow the instructions for your pressure cooker and adjust the cooking time needed for beans accordingly.

In this recipe, I used an entire 2 lb. bag of pinto beans.

  1. Separate the nicked, broken or otherwise unsightly beans from the rest and either discard or put in the damaged beans in the compost pile.
  2. Rinse the beans in a strainer. Place in a bowl and add enough water to cover them completely. Let them soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  3. When you’re ready to cook, do not discard the water you used to soak the beans. Instead, pour the beans and the water into a large pan. Add a little more water to cover the beans, if necessary.
  4. Bring them to a boil over medium high heat, and cover. When the beans boil, reduce heat to medium – enough to keep them at a gentle boil. Cook for about 1.5 hours, or until tender and soft. You may want to skim off foam during the cooking process, but that’s up to you.
  5. About 30 minutes before the beans are done, add 2 cloves of sliced garlic and 1 tsp salt and mix. Continue cooking the beans until finished.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful tomatillos.  The outer papery skin is removed and the tomatillos themselves are a wee bit sticky.  Put these first into the blender.Add a handful of cilantro.Then add the lime juice, salt, garlic and jalapeno peppers.  Blend well.
Beautiful tomatillos.  The outer papery skin is removed and the tomatillos themselves are a wee bit sticky.  Put these first into the blender.
Beautiful tomatillos. The outer papery skin is removed and the tomatillos themselves are a wee bit sticky. Put these first into the blender. | Source
Add a handful of cilantro.
Add a handful of cilantro. | Source
Then add the lime juice, salt, garlic and jalapeno peppers.  Blend well.
Then add the lime juice, salt, garlic and jalapeno peppers. Blend well. | Source

Instructions: Make the Tomatillo Sauce

  1. Put the tomatillos first into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add a handful of cilantro - just twist it off the bunch.
  3. Add the lime juice, a tsp of salt, 2 whole cloves of garlic and jalapeños.
  4. Blend for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.
Beautiful tomatillo sauce!
Beautiful tomatillo sauce! | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fresh corn is best to use in the sopes.Add the cooked corn and onions to the masa.  Mix well before starting to add the water.Add enough water to the masa so that you can form it into a ball.
Fresh corn is best to use in the sopes.
Fresh corn is best to use in the sopes. | Source
Add the cooked corn and onions to the masa.  Mix well before starting to add the water.
Add the cooked corn and onions to the masa. Mix well before starting to add the water. | Source
Add enough water to the masa so that you can form it into a ball.
Add enough water to the masa so that you can form it into a ball. | Source

Instructions: Make the Sopes

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat and coat the pan well with it.
  2. Add the corn and onions and cook until the onions are translucent and the corn is slightly browned, about four-five minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. Add cumin and garlic salt; mix well. Remove from heat. Do not rinse the pan – you’ll use it again.
  4. Pour the masa into a large bowl. Add the corn and onion mixture to the masa. Mix well.
  5. Begin adding water, a little at a time, until you can mix the masa to form a ball. This usually takes about 1¾ cups of water.
  6. Begin taking off golf ball-sized chunks of the masa mixture. Flatten them with the palms of your hands, making palm-sized cakes.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat the skillet once again over medium-high heat. Coat evenly with the oil.
  8. Add three or four masa cakes to the skillet and heat each side until lightly browned. Each side will take about 3-4 minutes to brown. As you cook more masa cakes, you’ll need to re-coat the pan with more olive oil. Use as much as you need to cook all the masa cakes.

Fresh sope cakes, ready to serve.
Fresh sope cakes, ready to serve. | Source

To Serve the Sopes:

Place two masa cakes on a plate. Cover them with the cooked beans, and top with cheese. Top again with the tomatillo sauce and add some slices of fresh tomato on the side. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts:

If you’re short on time, just use canned pinto beans and heat through. Their taste won’t be quite as good as the beans cooked from scratch, but they’re still a good alternative.

You can also buy green salsa at the store and use that to top the beans. This is useful when tomatillos are out of season.

If you don’t want to make sopes, you can try using corn tortillas or even tostada shells. Serve the beans on top of that, add the cheese and tomatillo sauce. Now, you have a completely different meal!

Here are some other topping ideas you can try: pepperjack cheese, regular salsa, guacamole, olives, green chiles (canned or cooked), more fresh cilantro, and/or bits of cooked chicken.

When you're making the tomatillo sauce, use the freshest ingredients possible. I used tomatillos straight from my garden. You can taste the difference - it's incredible!

Delicious sopes, topped with the tomatillo sauce, served with fresh tomato slices.
Delicious sopes, topped with the tomatillo sauce, served with fresh tomato slices. | Source

Comments

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not so sure on this one lil' Sis! I'm not getting good vibes at all. LOL

      But then, I'm a pretty picky eater, so I understand that millions out there will think this sounds delicious. I'll tell you what; when I finally visit back east, if you'll make this for me, I'll try it. How's that for a deal? :)

      Good job Cyndi!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Oh goodness. I am a Mexican lovin' freak! I can't wait to try!!!!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Bill, LOL, if you're ever on the east coast, I WILL make these for you. If I'm on the WEST coast, I'll just bring you some. :D Thanks, BB.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Julie - Yay! Mexican food..MMMMM. I can't get enough of the stuff. LOL

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I have not eaten yet and now I am going to have to because your post has really made my mouth water! What a great recipe and you have outdone yourself in the photo descriptions and ideas. I am going to print this and try them soon. Voted up!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Dianna - Teaches! - I always soo look forward to your awesome comments that make me feel like I'm on top of the world! :D You are so sweet, so kind and thank you so very much. Big hubhugs to you!!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Wow this looks fantastic! Your pics are so vibrant and beautiful. I love beautiful food! Voted 5 stars, up, awesome, pinned! Blessings, Kelley

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Hi, Kelley! Aww, thank you for stopping by! I'm definitely really trying with the pictures, haha. It means so much to me that you noticed and took the time to comment on them. BIG hubhugs! Thanks again. :)

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      wow the photos make this so tempting to make - despite as you say it is pretty labour intensive. Thanks for sharing. As a wheat and gluten free person this is a definite must do dish. PS what is copyscape...does it work preventing copying?

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm there! Bless you

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I love this recipe hub! I've never tries sopes before, but I love homemade Mexican food. Unfortunately, we can't get tomatillos here but I'm sure a red sauce could be substituted? What do you think? I know it would really change the flavor, but I would love to try it! Voted up and shared.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Cyndi,

      I admit, I have never tried or heard about this exotic dish until now.

      I have to try it out...looks delish and loved the pix...yummmy!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Lizam1 - MMM, you'll love this. It's just so delicious. It's one of my all time favorites. I'm glad you liked the pictures.

      Mhatter99 - So awesome! Right back at ya.

      Vespawoolf - Thanks for comin' by! Yeah, try some red salsa (the fresher, the better) and add some extra cilantro. It'll be just as good. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Ruchira - it's yummy. It's a Mexican dish, and if you live in the southwestern part of the US you might have heard of it, but by golly, I didn't even hear about it until a couple years ago! :) Hubhugs~

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Sounds absolutely delicious. I wish I could get someone to make it for me! It's a bit more ambitious that the simple rice and beans I'm used to cooking (LOL) but I tell ya what, if I get really bored during a snow-in this winter I'm going to give this a try! Voted up and more :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This looks delicious, Cyndi! Thanks for sharing this great recipe with us.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I'm not a big Mexican fan what with my German roots and all but my kids...oh my kids are gonna love this (they're all grown up)...they love Mexican food and I have to admit this sounds good.

      Voted up and useful for sure!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This looks really delicious and I love the healthy ingredients.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Farmer Rachel - beans and rice are my FAVORITE meal. :D Winter is the perfect time to experiment with stuff like this, when things on the farm are relatively quiet. :) I do hope you enjoy it. Hubhugs!

      Randomcreative - thank you so much for coming by! You have inspired me with your own pictures.

      Tillsontitan - You might not be a Mexican food fan, but I'd give anything to sample your German cooking! I do hope your kids like this recipe, though. Hehe. Thanks so much for stopping by! LOL Hubhugs!

      Glimmer Twin Fan - thank you for stopping by. Yes, the ingredients are healthy and so, so delicious. :)

    • teresamg profile image

      teresamg 4 years ago from Portugal

      Wow, very good recipe and a treat to the eyes! Nice job! Thanks for sharing.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      My whole family is crazy about Mexican food. This looks like something everyone will love. Gorgeous photos! 5 Stars, pinning, tweeting, sharing!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 4 years ago from Texas

      Que Rico!!!!! Where do I even begin? My mouth is watering! Your variation of the tomatillo sauce is one I need to try. I can already tell it is delicious. Also, the corn and onion are sure to give this sope recipe a wonderful flavor. Almost seems like it would taste like a variation of Mexican corn-bread. YUM! Add the salsa and/or guacamole....heaven! Ay Dios! Thanks a million for all the extra links (The Adoro!) and you did a grand job on this hub, you definitely made me hungry! :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Teresamg - thank you for coming by! I hope you try it. :)

      Tammy - I love a family that appreciates yummy Mexican food, hehe. It's just YUMMY! Thank you for the votes and shares. Hubhugs!

      MO - Que rico, no? Jajaja. I want to try YOUR variation of tomatillo salsa. The corn and onion make for a wonderful treat and adding guacamole - yes, it is heaven. LOL. The adoro tambien and go eat! :D

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Delicious. This reminds me of a New Mexican restaurant we had nearby where I used to go all the time to eat sopes topped with all sorts of goodies. Unfortunately, they closed and I have nowhere to go for my sope fix. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Alocsin - mmm, now you're making me hungry. :) I must eat more Mexican food! Haha. I hope you find another place to get your sope fix...or, you can always make your own. :D Cheers!

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

      Recipe looks and sounds delicious! Good idea using the pressure cooker for the beans to cut down on the cook time.

      Voted up and useful

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      An excellent recipe. I like things like this, too, so I will give it a try.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      TycoonSam - oh, if you like Mexican food, this meal will not let you down. Every winter, I dream about the day during the summer time when I can harvest the tomatillos from my garden so I can make this. It's THAT good. :)

      Aviannovice - awesome! I hope you enjoy it, but with fresh foods, it's hard to go too wrong, hehe. Thanks for your feedback! Cheers!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thank you! Cyndi I can't wait to try this one. I LOVE tomatilla's. I made my own green sauce and canned it! I have one small jar left. I have always wondered how to make sopes! I love all the ingredients. I want some now. Up and YUM!

      I just found Chi's Chi's brand now has the corn bread like mix you can buy and I tried it and it worked great! This would be wonderful with it. Sharing everywhere!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      RealHousewife - hehe, you're too funny. :D You're awesome and I bet that canned green sauce was spectacular-tasting. :) Big hubhugs to you!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 3 years ago from The High Seas

      I have been trying to make masa cakes for a few years now and can never seem to get them right. I'll try it your way and hopefully will have more luck.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 3 years ago from Western NC

      GetitScene - Those corn masa cakes are a bit tricky, aren't they? Even just a little too much water or too much masa can make them not so good. Thanks for stopping by and I definitely hope they turn out great!

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