Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chope's Tapatias

 "Chope's" is a very famous restaurant/bar in La Mesa, New Mexico.  Doña Lupe's tortillas were homemade when I was a child, and a bean burrito from Chope's was something that I loved just as much as fudgesicles or peanut butter and jelly.  Her green enchiladas were made with jalapeños, and you needed to have your feet nailed to the floor when you ate them!  The Chile Verde was, and still is, succulent, tender, and can cure the common cold. 
But  I have another favorite, too.  Tapatias.
Lupe Benavides with great-great grandchild

The Tapatias at Chope's are like something your Mom would make on a busy weeknight;   light, tasty and easy to get on the table.  No body part is going to burn, now or later.   All the major food groups are represented; vegetables, lettuce, meat, cheese and corn tortillas.     I think it was Margie Benavides (maybe Amelia, or Cecilia, it was a long time ago) who told me how to make them and I'll think of their welcoming and hospitable family and my friends and loved ones in La Mesa every time I serve them.
Here's how to make it:
Cook a pound of good quality lean beef with seasonings, as for tacos.  I used a mixture of garlic, onion and Consomate.  Let it get cool.

 Slice a head of lettuce into thin ribbons.

Take some corn tortillas and put them on a cookie sheet sprayed with oil.  I used olive oil.  Put them in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes and take them out when you have reached the desired level of crisp.   I like  mine just slightly soft, not quite as hard as tostadas.
Cook a bag of mixed vegetables .  I used the microwave kind.   Throw it in the same dish as the cooked, cooled meat, along with the lettuce.

 Add 2 tablespoons of good mayonaise to the meat, vegetables and lettuce.  Stir it around to mix well.

Get your cookie sheet and put the baked tortillas on it.   Mound the the meat/vegetable/lettuce mix on top of each tortilla.

 Sprinkle the tops with grated Monterrey Jack cheese,  and run them under the broiler for a few seconds until the cheese is melted. 

And there you have it.  I ♥ Chope's.

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