This delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free recipe for sweet potato and bacon gorditas can be stuffed with anything from braised beef to scrambled eggs! Flavored with roasted, mashed sweet potato and bits of crisp bacon, these are the most divine gorditas ever. Step-by-step instructions included!
It never ceases to amaze me the endless meals that can be made with a couple cups of masa harina and hot water.
I’m sure there’s an official count out there somewhere, but the number of Mexican recipes that start with masa has to be in the hundreds—if anyone knows, leave me a comment, I’d love to find out.
From corn tortillas to tamales, sopes to chochoyotes, I have never met a masa-based recipe I haven’t immediately fallen in love with. So when Susana Villasuso posted this recipe for Sweet Potato Gorditas I knew I had to give them a try.
Her recipe is elegant, with a touch of coconut oil and caramel flavors of the roasted sweet potato.
Somewhere along the line I started adding bits of crispy bacon and swapping bacon grease for the coconut oil and they went in a whole other delicious direction.
what are gorditas?
Essentially, a gordita is like a really thick tortilla made from nixtamilized corn flour called masa harina.
These corn cakes are split open to create a pocket inside which can be filled with anything from refried beans to chicken mole.
They are formed using a tortilla press and then shallow fried or lightly toasted in a dry, hot skillet, like how you would cook corn tortillas, until light brown and cooked through.
mixing the dough
The first step to make Mexican gorditas is mixing the dough. This is the most important step in the entire process and one that requires practice because it’s mainly how it feels to know if it’s right.
Your dough probably won’t be perfect the first time, but that’s okay. The nice thing about this dough is you can adjust as you go along. Adding more masa harina or water if it is too dry or too wet.
Because we are adding sweet potatoes and bacon to this recipe, we prep those ingredients first. Roast a whole sweet potato in the oven until very soft and crisp a few slices of bacon.
Then combine the masa harina, mashed, roasted sweet potato, hot water, salt, and reserved bacon grease in a large bowl.
Work the ingredients together with a wooden spoon to start, then use your hand to knead the dough for at least a minute or two. I like to knead the dough on a clean working surface like you would bread dough.
Chop the bacon super fine and knead it into the dough.
Now do a test: roll a piece of dough into a ball. If the dough cracks all over it is too dry. Add more water, a tablespoon or so at a time. If the dough is so sticky you can barely roll it, it is too wet. Add more masa harina, a tablespoon at a time until it stops sticking like crazy to your hands.
I will say, it is better to have the dough too wet then too dry. So if you are unsure, a little sticky is better.
Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap while you’re working to prevent it from drying out.
forming the gorditas
Like I mentioned, the easiest way to form the gorditas is with a tortilla press. If you don’t have one, you can use any heavy, wide object like a frying pan or baking dish.
You can also try flattening them by pressing the dough back and forth between your palms until they are the thickness you like.
You want them to be thicker than a tortilla, about 1/2 inch thick.
Begin by rolling a lime-sized piece of dough into a ball. You can roll all the dough into balls at once or do one at a time.
Line the tortilla press with two pieces of thick plastic (like a Ziplock bag cut in half).
Place the dough balls, one at a time, in between the two pieces of plastic in the tortilla press and flatten to about 1/2-inch thick.
cooking the gorditas
Many people like deep frying gorditas, but I think they are best cooked in a dry, hot pan.
Heat a comal or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until very hot, but not smoking.
Add the gorditas, a couple at a time, and cook until brown spots form and they easily move around, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
Remove the gorditas from the pan and while they are still warm, make a pocket in the middle by slicing them in half with a pairing knife—don’t slice all the way through.
This pocket is where your filling will go.
what to fill them with!
- Mashed Borracho Beans
- Cochinita Pibil
- Shredded Beef
- Pork Tinga
- Chicken Carnitas
- Mexican Pulled Pork
- Chipotle Mushrooms
so, ready to give these gorditas a try?
What do you think? Are you feeling inspired to head into the kitchen? I’d love to hear about your gordita adventures! Post a picture to Instagram and tag @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno or leave me a comment below!
Roast the sweet potato. Heat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato in a oven-safe frying pan and prick all over with a fork. Roast until very soft, about 1 hour. Remove and let cool slightly. This can be done a day in advance.
Mash the sweet potato. Peel the skin and mash sweet potato with a potato masher or fork. Measure 1 cup of sweet potato puree.
Cook bacon. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a frying pan until crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and save bacon grease in the pan. Chop bacon into small pieces
Mix the dough. Combine 1 cup mashed sweet potato, masa harina, hot water, salt, and 2 tablespoons reserved bacon grease in a large bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon until it is well combined.
Knead the dough. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and knead with your palm for a minute or two to really hydrate the flour. Test to see if it is the right consistency by forming a ball with a piece of dough. If it cracks all over, knead in more water, a tablespoon at a time. If it sticky very badly to your hands, add more masa harina a tablespoon at a time until it is moist, but not too sticky. It is better to have it more wet than dry.
Knead in bacon bits then cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Heat the pan. Heat a comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Turn the heat down if it gets too hot.
Form the gorditas. Tear off a lime-sized piece of dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball between to sheets of thick plastic, like a Ziplock bag cut in half, then place inside a tortilla press. Press down gently until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
Cook the gorditas. Place gordita on the hot comal and cook undisturbed, until lightly browned and easily moves around the pan, about 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
Split and fill the gorditas. While still warm, form a pocket in the gordita by splitting in half with a pairing knife—don't cut all the way through! Fill with your favorite warmed filling and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
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