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Adela Lorenzo's
Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Cheese

Papoosa de Queso

El Salvador

Makes 10

These are a delight. They are served with a spicy Cabbage Salad with Oregano (Curtido) and are a favorite with adults and children alike. Just as American children enjoy stopping off for a hamburger with fries, children in El Salvador beg their mothers for a papoosa with curtido.

You may use well-crumbled Mexican cheese queso fresco here if you can get it or else use coarsely grated Monterey Jack or pale, mild Cheddar.

For helpful hints on making tortillas and what kind of flour to buy, read the preceding recipe. Just remember that a papoosa is only a tortilla with a stuffing in the center.

To serve on the side:
Cabbage Salad with Oregano (see below)

Put the masa harina and salt into a wide bowl. Slowly add about 1-1/3 cups of hot tap water, mixing as you go. You should end up with a soft, puttylike dough, as soft as you can make it without it being sticky. Add more water if you need it. Knead well and form a smooth ball. Put the ball in a plastic bag and set aside for 30 minutes or longer.

Divide the dough into 10 smooth balls. Flatten the balls slightly to make small, smooth patties. Keep them covered or in a plastic bag. Divide the grated cheese into 10 portions. Keep a bowl of lukewarm water nearby.

Cup one palm slightly and dampen it with the lukewarm water. Take one piece of dough and put it in the dampened palm. Press down on it until you have a 3-inch round, which is slightly cupped because of the shape of your palm. If the edges break, fix them with dampened fingers. Now put about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese into the cup. Bring the edges of the cup together over the top of tht cheese and form a ball again. Press down on the ball gently to make a patty. Make 9 other cheese-filled patties in a similar manner and keep covered on a sheet of wax paper.

Now, using a tortilla press, proceed to make the stuffed tortillas or papoosas in exactly the same way as the tortillas in the preceding recipe (see page 348 of the book) but with these differences:

Make all the papoosas, stacking them on top of each other and keeping them covered. Serve them while they are still hot, if possible, with the cabbage salad.

The best way to reheat papoosas is to heat a cast-iron griddle or cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is really hot, slap on as many papoosas as it will hold in a single layer and then heat them for about 30 seconds on each side. You could also wrap all of them in foil and put the whole bundle into a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes.


Variation I

Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Potatoes and Green Pepper
Papoosa de Papa

Make these exactly as the papoosas in the preceding recipe, except, instead of the cheese, substitute a mixture of 2 cups boiled, cooled, peeled, and coarsely grated potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and, if you like, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely chopped hot or mild green chiles.


Variation II

Anna Monies' Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Cheese and Retried Beans
Papoosa de Queso con Frijoles Refritos

Make these papoosas exactly as in the master recipe for Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Cheese but with this difference: For the stuffing, you will need only half the cheese and about 10 tablespoons of well-crushed, cooled Refried Beans (page 12 of my book). Stuff each papoosa with about P/2 tablespoons of the cheese and about 1 tablespoon of the beans.


Cabbage Salad with Oregano


Serves 6

This is the deliciously spicy and sour salad that is served with papoosa, the stuffed corn breads of El Salvador. It is so good that it has almost replaced coleslaw in my household.

I make it at least an hour ahead of time as it needs to sit and "pickle" in its own juices. You can even make it a day in advance; just keep it covered and refrigerated.

Here I used half of a 2-pound green cabbage, cored, with the coarse outer leaves removed.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix. Set aside for 1 hour or longer, refrigerating if necessary.


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Page created 1999. Modified March 2007