This recipe for my favorite gorditas is yet another example of why delicious Mexican foods can easily become an important part of a healthful eating lifestyle. They are delectable and low in calories, which makes them typical of the recipes in Naturally Healthy Mexican Cooking: Authentic Recipes for Dieters, Diabetics, and All Food Lovers. At 70 calories per gordita, 3 – 4 of them should fit nicely into most meal plans, and they are also easy to prepare!
I discovered these gorditas years ago at El Rincón del Viejo (The Old Man’s Corner) restaurant in Nuevo Laredo. They quickly became my favorites and can serve as an appetizer or light meal. The masa portion of the dough can be made with either fresh dough for corn tortillas from a tortilla factory or with Maseca corn flour for tortillas. It helps if you have a good food scale to correctly size the gorditas. A laser thermometer is also useful to make sure your griddle is at the proper temperature. Gorditas are traditionally cooked in lard, sometimes quite a bit of it. However, these require very little, so please consider using a good pure lard for that special flavor.
14 ounces prepared masa for corn tortillas or, to make it yourself, use 1 ½ cups Maseca and 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
9 ounces peeled, russet potatoes (weighed after peeling), cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
2 teaspoons melted pure lard, or a butter substitute, plus a little more lard or spray oil for frying the gorditas
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup guacamole
Pico de gallo or your favorite salsa
Prepare the masa. If you are using Maseca for tortillas put 1 ½ cups of it in a medium-sized bowl and stir in 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough for about two minutes or until it is quite smooth and then allow it to rest for 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, so that it will fully hydrate. The result should weigh about 14 ounces.
Cook the potatoes and finish the dough. Place the potatoes in a pot, cover them with several inches of water, and bring it to a medium simmer. Cook the potatoes until they are easily pierced with a paring knife. Put the potatoes through a potato ricer or thoroughly mash them, and then stir in the 2 teaspoons lard or butter substitute and salt. To finish the dough, combine the 14 ounces of tortilla masa and the mashed potato mixture.
Form the gorditas. Pat out 1 ½ ounce pieces of the dough into circles. There should be about 16 of them, and they should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
Cook the gorditas. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat (about 350 - 375 degrees if you have a laser thermometer). Add just enough lard, butter substitute, or spray oil to film the surface, and cook the dough until it begins to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn the gorditas and cook another 4 minutes on the other side.
Top them with a little guacamole, pico de gallo, or just about anything else you like, and serve.
Makes about 16 gorditas.