I have a Mexican food problem. Ever since we moved to Colorado, it’s all I want. I guess because there’s a taco stand on every corner and entire aisles dedicated to the cuisine in all our grocery stores. But, alas, I’m the only one in my family with intense Mexican food cravings so every couple weeks I make a Chipotle run after my kids are in bed and then I spend 3 hours lying in my bed, eating a burrito the size of my head while watching Real Housewives reruns.

It’s a rough life.

So when it was my turn to choose the next Project Pastry Queen recipe these Ground Beef Gorditas jumped out at me. At the time I had no idea what a gordita was but I knew it would satisfy my need for Mexican food.

After making these, I think they are kind of like the Mexican equivalent to the pita bread, only fried, because they are split and then filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and then eaten sandwich style. And they are awesome! The dough is like a super thick corn tortilla – it’s so crispy on the outside and so soft on the inside. I was seriously shocked at how amazing these were! The meat mixture – just ground beef, some spices, and tomato sauce – was simple and perfect with the freshly fried gorditas.

I made some changes, of course. I did what I always do when I’m attempting a food I’m not familiar with: I did a blog search to see what they looked like. I found Deborah’s post where she says she wasn’t thrilled with the gorditas. I trust her opinion so I ended up using a gordita recipe one of her readers left in the comments.  They were kind of a pain and I had to HEAVILY flour my board and my rolling pin but like I said, well worth the work. (I am including the original recipe from The Pastry Queen.)

Project Pastry Queen – Ground Beef Gorditas
from The Pastry Queen
For the dough:
  • 4 cups corn masa mix or 12 ounces fresh masa dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt if necessary
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Safflower oil for frying
For the beef filling
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce like Tobasco
  • 1 8- oz can plain tomato sauce
For serving:
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce shredded
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup queso fresco crumbled
  • sliced black olives optional
  • ½ cup sour cream
For the Dough:
  1. If using the mix, mix in a large bowl according to the package instructions. Beat the masa, butter and salt in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until it forms a ball. If using fresh dough, just add the butter and mix until a ball is formed. Using your hands, shape the dough into 8 discs, roughly 4 inches across and ½ inch thick. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Cook the gorditas until lightly browned on each side, about 5 to 10 minutes on each side.
  2. Fill a large skillet with enough oil to come about ½ inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat until hot enough that the oil bubbles when a small ball of dough is dropped in. Lower the gorditas into the hot oil - the oil should start bubbling. Fry the gorditas for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
For the Beef Filling:
  1. Saute the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is brown - 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off the fat. Add teh garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
  1. Split gorditas in half and set them on individual plates. Spoon the beef mixture over the bottom halves. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Lean the top half of the gordita at an angle on top of the beef mixture and serve.
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