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Pupusa de Queso (Cheese-filled Pupusas)
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
Pupusas are El Salvadoran treats made from masa harina that are much thicker than tortillas, and usually stuffed with cheese, beans or even meat. They are hand-formed, then pan-fried and traditionally served with a pickled slaw called curtido. Cheese versions often contain a special herb, loroco, that sometimes can be found at Latin markets. Its flavor is a cross between asparagus and green beans. You can substitute minced chiles, if desired. Masa harina is available at Latin markets and many area supermarkets.
-- Meridith Ford Goldman
Hands on time: 1 hour Total time: 1 hour Serves: Makes 6 pupusas
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (available at Latin markets or in the Latin section of many supermarkets)
1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 teaspoon minced loroco, if desired
2 cups masa harina
1 cup warm water
In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina and water and knead well. Knead in more water, a tablespoonful at a time if needed, to make a moist, yet firm dough. (It should not crack at the edges when you press down on it.) Cover and set aside to rest 5 to 10 minutes.
Pinch off about one-sixth of the dough. Roll it into a ball between your palms. Press the ball out until it makes a thick disk in your palm (keep your palms lightly buttered if the dough is sticking to your hand). Set aside. Repeat to form 11 more disks.
Press the center of a disk with your thumb. Put about 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling into the center of each disk, then cover and with another disk and seal the edges. Press slightly to make the disk uniform (you can also use a tortilla press). Repeat until all the pupusas are filled.
Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-high flame. Cook each pupusa for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and blistered. Remove to a plate and hold warm until all pupusas are done.