Traditional Mexican fried bread topped with beery beans and avocado cream
The world over, people make delicious things you can eat with your hands, and one of my favourites is the Mexican gordita – ‘chubby’ in Spanish . It is traditionally made with masa dough, but I have used more readily available cornmeal and topped it with beer-infused beans, beetroot pickles and a sprightly avocado cream.
There are four elements to this dish, but don’t let that put you off. The pickles and avocado cream are fairly quick to make and both those and the beans can be made in advance.
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr
For the drunken beans
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 medium jalapeño, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp hot smoky paprika
2 x 400g tins pinto beans, drained
330ml pale ale or dark beer suitable for vegans
For the pickles
250g or 2 medium beetroots, peeled and grated
¼ or 150g red cabbage, finely sliced
100ml apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
For the avocado cream
2 small ripe avocados
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
For the gorditas
150g fine cornmeal
150g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Heat the olive oil for the beans in a medium-sized pan over a low heat and, when hot, add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for eight minutes, until translucent and starting to caramelise, then add the jalapeño, salt, oregano and paprika. Stir to coat the onions, then cook for four minutes to soften the jalapeño. Add the beans to the pan, stir to combine, then increase the heat to high and add the beer. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, prepare the pickles and the avocado cream. For the pickles, combine the beetroot and sliced cabbage in a small mixing bowl and add the vinegar and salt. Mix well so that everything is coated, and leave to pickle for 30 minutes.
For the avocado cream, combine the avocado flesh, vinegar, oil and salt in a blender, and blitz for one or two minutes until completely smooth. Depending on the ripeness of your avocado, you might need to add a teaspoon or two of water to get a silky mayonnaise like texture.
Finally, the gorditas. Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the water a little at a time, using a spoon to bring the dough together each time. Once all the water is added, bring the dough together with your hands, knead into a smooth ball and rest for two minutes. Divide the dough into 12 even balls, each weighing around 50g, and roll each out on a lightly floured surface until you have a pleasingly chubby disc of dough roughly 5mm thick.
Fry the gorditas in batches in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat – two or three to the pan at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Fry the gorditas for two minutes a side, until crisp on the outside with no dark doughy spots. To serve, top each gordita with a spoonful of beans, some avocado cream and a pinch or two of pickles.