I fear that the recipes we’ve shared on this blog do not adequately reflect our love of fried food. I aim to change that.
Let’s start basic. Sopapillas are puffy fried dough and are made in a skillet. They are big in New Mexico, and can be served next to or stuffed with traditional southwest fare like black beans and taco fillings. We also serve them with mashed sweet potatoes with ginger, tomatoes sautéed with cumin seeds, deep fried poblano pepper strips, chunky tomato-onion-dried chile concoctions, ect. They are fantastic for dessert (or breakfast) with honey or lots of powdered sugar (at which point they very much resemble beignets).
But don’t be overwhelmed. The point is they are damn good. I could happily eat them for every meal, day after day.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS cold butter
3/4 cup warm water
oil for frying*
In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a knife to cut the butter into 1/2 inch blocks. Add the butter to the bowl and pinch the blocks with your finger tips. You are trying to break the butter into small, flour coated, chunks (pea sized or smaller) without smashing the butter and flour together into a solid mass. Alternately you can cut the butter into the flour mix with two knives or with a pastry cutter. Then stir in the water and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl and let stand for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the flat sheet of dough into 3 inch squares. Heat a 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Slide the squares of dough into the oil and watch them sizzle and begin to puff up. Fry on each side until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and drain on a cooling rack or on paper towels. Serve hot.
* We use peanut oil for frying. It can get very hot without smoking (unlike olive oil or butter) and is moderately healthy. It imparts a mild flavor, which we like. You can also use vegetable oils, canola oil or solid vegetable shortening. These impart no flavor, if you’re into that. We found canola oil to smell fishy when it got hot, which we didn’t care for. Lard is also good for frying and will add some flavor.