I recently moved to Atlanta from Washington, D.C. Since the move, I have been craving pupusas. You can find pupusas at many restaurants in DC, but I haven’t had much luck finding a great pupuseria that’s close to my house or at least or in the city.
If you don’t know a pupusa is a Salvadoran corn tortilla. But get this, that tortilla is stuffed with cheese, meat, or beans. You cook it on a flat surface and the cheese gets all ooey gooey and melt-y. Typically, pupusas are served with curtido, which is a pickled cabbage slaw relish or sorts. Its a nice, cool and spicy topping, and just completes the dish.
As I was in the process of pickling my curtido, I wanted to make a meal out of everything. Plus, I have been testing out new client recipes, so I broke out the tried and true crock pot. I mean who doesn’t like the crock pot. I will give you a secret, the crock pot it a easy and simple way to have great meals without all of the added work and dishes. And who doesn’t love coming home to a meal ready to go! So I decided to do slow roasted pulled chicken, tinga. Tinga is a dish made with chicken with a red sauce of chipotle peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions. Also, tinga typically has chorizo, but since I don’t eat red meat, I didn’t add it. I put a creme sauce on-top and we were ready to go. Tinga and pupusas don’t necessarily go together (one I was blending cultures), but I wanted to use some of the same spices and again who is patrolling my kitchen, anybody…anybody…NO! So do what you want in your kitchen.
Now on to the ingredients in these dishes. I’m starting with the curtido since this should be made a day in advance to get that nice pickle going.
That cabbage, carrot, and onion are all going to get shredded, grated, and thinly sliced and pickled with the vinegar, salt, and brown sugar.
The next morning, I got started on the tinga.
Spice cabinet on a whole other level here, kidding, but I needed to add some flavor to my tinga. Not pictured are my tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, chipotle peppers, and the chicken.
Now on to the pupusa ingredients.
Fairly few ingredients for the dough. Not pictured is the Cotija cheese. A word of advise, make sure you have Masa corn flour. I tried to be creative on my first try of making pupusas, I didn’t have Masa, and added cornmeal with regular flour and wow those were definitely NOT pupusas #fail.
The dough making process!
Pupusas, Curtido, y Tinga
- Half head green cabbage, shredded
- Half large onion thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot grated
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1/3 cup water
- dash of brown sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- pepper to taste
- Combine the cabbage, onion, and carrot in a large bowl
- Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl. This is your brine
- Pour your brine onto the cabbage mixture, making sure everything is well combined.
- Cover in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight before eating
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 cup chopped tomatillos (washed and husked)
- 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes (drained)
- 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle peppers in adobe
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
- dash of dried cilantro
- lime juice (optional)
- Crema (optional)
- Rub the chicken with the olive oil and set in the bottom of the pan with onion and garlic.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the lime juice.
- Cook on high for 4 hours until you can shred the chicken.
- Take chicken out of the liquid let it rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes. Then begin shredding.
- Put the shredded chicken back into the cooking liquid and cook on low for another 15-20 minutes
- Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and crema.
- 2 cups Masa Harina Flour
- 1.5 to 2 cups warm water
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup grated Mexican cheese (I used Cojita)
- 1 cup cooked refried beans (seasoned to your liking)
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- In a large bowl, combine the Masa, salt, and the salt well into the masa harina. With your hands, knead the water into the masa harina in a few additions; work in all the water evenly. The dough will feel like stiff mashed potatoes. Lay a 12-inch square of plastic wrap or a zip-lock on a smooth work surface.