They are easy to pick up with one hand and the pocket holds all that deliciously tender rib meat intact.
A gordita (gohr-DEE-tah) is Spanish for little fat one and used to describe a thick tortilla made of masa, lard and water, fried and then filled with ground pork or chorizo; it is topped with cheese, lettuce and the like.
This short rib version was created by chefs Daniel Pittman and Jeff Dietzman and they are delicious!
For the short ribs:
- 3 pounds bone-in short ribs, cut into three-inch pieces
- 3 small white onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
- 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
- 3 serranos peppers, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
- 1 bottle dark beer
For the gorditas:
- 1 3/4 cups powdered masa harina mixed with 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
For the beans:
- 16 ounces black beans, cooked or canned
- 1/4 cup lard or bacon drippings
- 2 chipotle peppers, in adobe sauce, chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
For finishing the dish:
- 1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
In a dutch oven set directly over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and brown short ribs on all sides.
Combine the meat with 2 quarts salted water, beer, about 1/3 of the onions, and half of the garlic. Simmer until the meat is very tender, about 5-6 hours.
While meat is cooking, heat lard (or bacon drippings) in large skillet over medium heat.
Cook the garlic, onions and chipotle until soft.
Sprinkle in the cumin. Add in about 1/2 cup of beans and mash with back of spoon or mashing utensil.
If the mixture seems thick, add about a tablespoon of liquid from canned beans or the cooking liquid. Continue to add beans and mash them together, adding liquid as necessary.
Once meat is cooked, strain, reserving the broth. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred it into coarse strands.
Place a saucepan over medium heat and add remaining tablespoon of the oil. Add remaining onions and cook until golden, about 6 minutes, then stir in the remaining garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the tomatoes and chiles and cook until most of the juice has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the shredded meat and simmer for a few more minutes, then taste and season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Knead the masa with the measured water to make it pliable, adding a little water if necessary to achieve a soft dough consistency.
Knead in the flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Divide the dough into 10 portions and roll into balls; cover with plastic to keep from drying out.
Line a tortilla press with plastic wrap (or two plates as I have done here).
To make gorditas, gently press out a ball of dough between the sheets of plastic to about 4 inches in diameter, about 1/4 inch thick.
Place gordita in the heated nonstick skillet. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes on the other side until lightly browned.
Remove and set aside. Continue pressing and browning the remaining gorditas in the same manner.
In a deep skillet or saucepan, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat until the oil is hot enough to make the edge of a gordita sizzle, about 350 degrees on a deep frying thermometer.
One by one, fry the gorditas, turning them after they’ve been in the oil for about 15 seconds, until they’re nicely crisp, about 45 seconds total.
When they’re ready, most will have puffed up a little. Drain on paper towels.
Once they all are fried, cut each gordita in half and use a small knife to cut a slit in the thin edge of each one about halfway around its circumference, opening a pocket.
As you cut them, fill each gordita with about 1/4 cup shredded meat and crumbled cheese and cilantro. Serve w/refried beans.