This was my first experience with actually eating a Gordita, but I would have to say that I'm glad I tried them! I'm going to have to eat them again, and maybe try to find a different way to make them that does not require frying. If I can't, I will still eat these... I'm just not very big on fried foods - that started with getting pregnant. Greasy foods just don't have the same appeal they use to. Also because these are fried, you will want to serve them immediately after filling them. Gorditas are like fat corn tortillas that are fried and stuffed like a pita.
Recipe from Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups shredded beef, 1 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup chopped white onion, and 2 garlic cloves - peeled and finely chopped.
(If you don't have left over shredded beef, the actual recipe calls for using 1-1/4 lb boneless beef chuck steak cut into 4 pieces and combined with 2 quarts salted water and the above onion and garlic. Then simmering until meat is very tender - about 1.5-2 hours. Shred beef.)
In a medium saucepan heat 1 Tbsp oil, when hot add 1/2 cup diced onion and cook until golden, about 6-8 minutes, stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add a 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice and 1-2 jalapenos- stemmed, seeded (you can leave the seeds in if you want it spicier - it also makes it look less appealing to have the seeds), and finely chopped. Cook for 3-5 minutes - until most of the juice is evaporated. Stir in shredded meat (be sure to drain the broth off before adding) and simmer for a few more minutes. Season to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt.) Keep warm, or warm up before filling the gordita (as described below.)
Gordita (Corn Masa Pocket)
Combine 1-3/4 cup masa harina - finely ground corn flour, 1-1/8 cups warm water. Knead adding more water if necessary to achieve a cookie dough consistency. Knead in 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt. Divide dough into 10 portions and roll into balls. Cover with damp towel to keep from drying out.
If you have a tortilla press, line each side with plastic wrap, and press dough ball to about 4 inch diameter discs. They will be about 1/4 inch thick.
If you do not have a tortilla press, place the ball between two pieces of plastic wrap and using a flat plate or small cutting board, press to flatten. Use a rolling pin to roll out the disk to about 4 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Being sure to keep the disc between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Peel off the top piece of plastic wrap and flip the disc uncovered side down onto your hand, carefully remove the top piece of plastic wrap. Gently place disc onto a heavy skillet preheated over medium heat. Cook for 1.5-2 minutes then flip and cook for 1.5-2 more minutes on the other side. The gordita will be lightly browned on top and bottom, but still a little uncooked on sides and in the middle. Repeat this process for all 10 gorditas. I formed my next gordita while the previous one was cooking - if you do this be sure to set a timer so you do not lose track of time and burn them. ;)
After all the gorditas have been lightly browned, Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium to medium high. Oil should be hot enough to make the gorditas sizzle around the edges (or if you have a candy or deep frying thermometer, about 350 degrees.) Fry the gorditas one at a time for 1 minute, turning halfway through. Drain on paper towels.
Filling the Gordita:
Use a small knife to cut a slit in the thin edge of each gordita - make the cut to be about 1/3 of the circumference of the pocket. Fill each gordita with about 1/4 cup shredded meat mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh cilantro.
I served ours with sour cream and guacamole.