Season’s Greetings – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? Yes, we all love the holiday season because for most of us, we spend time with our friends and loved ones. But, it also means that the little amount of time we have free during the other eleven months of the year is now usurped by the madness of the malls, holiday card writing and decking your halls with boughs of holly. The upside? Holiday parties!
I love that every gathering in December unavoidably becomes a celebration full of holiday spirit. Whether friends stop by to drop off gifts or family comes by to see our Christmas tree once it is up and of course the annual holiday party I host or the girlfriends Christmas brunch; whatever the reason, I love that my house fills with joy, laughter and love.
But let’s be real…all this hosting can be exhausting. This is why I have a handful of recipes and ingredients that I keep in the fridge and pantry that make hosting a little easier. I always keep cheeses, cured meats with their accoutrements on hand because a charcuterie and cheese board keeps everyone happy and it pairs well with any wine or spirit you have on hand.
But, if I want to make a warm delicious cheesy appetizer, then I keep Cacique® cheeses stocked in the fridge. The incomparable fresh, authentic and all natural flavors of Cacique® cheeses make my winter favorite recipes extra special but more importantly, it puts a smile on my guests. However this season, I am even more excited for the new line of Cacique® Shredded Cheeses. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I received the perfectly combined shredded cheese blends from Cacique® that are ready to go and help make those holiday favorites easier to prepare. I know they will be instrumental to helping me host brilliantly through the holiday season.
One of my favorite cheesy appetizers to make this time of year is these little Plantain Gorditas with a smoky chipotle flavored black bean sauce. The plantain gorditas are made using Cacique® Queso Quesadilla for a filling that is stringy and delicious. The rich and creamy flavors of Queso Quesadilla Shredded Cheese make this blend ideal for melting and perfect for these plantain gorditas that are always a crowd pleaser at my holiday events. I top the gorditas with a black bean sauce that pairs impeccably well with plantain and the Queso Cotija Grated Cheese garnish. Serve these gorditas by themselves or with other dishes and be merry! Happy Holidays from my family to yours.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 2 Ripe Plantains, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 1/4 cups Masa Harina (preferably Bob’s Red Mill brand or Maseca brand), plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cup Cacique® Queso Quesadilla Shredded Cheese
- 1- 15 oz. can of Black Beans
- 1-2 Chipotle Chiles in Adobo
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup Cacique® Queso Cotija Grated Cheese
HOW TO MAKE IT
- In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add plantains and cook until the plantains are tender when cut into with a knife, about 17 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer plantains to a bowl and let them cool. Reserve cooking plantain water. When plantains are slightly cool, mash them well.
- In a standing mixer bowl, mix masa harina and salt. Continuing to mix at medium speed, add plantain mash. Slowly drizzle in 1 ½ cups of the reserved cooking plantain water. (Add a tablespoon at a time of water if the dough seems dry, this might vary on the brand type of masa harina you are using). When dough is well mixed and it has the consistency of cookie dough, then transfer masa dough to a bowl.
- To form gorditas and fill them; begin by dividing dough into 24 portions and roll into balls. Using your hands, pat the masa balls back and forth between both hands to form a 2” diameter disk. Place a tablespoon of Cacique® Queso Quesadilla in the center. Fold ends of masa disk to seal the filling and pat a few more times to reform into an even disk about 1/4” thick. Repeat until all the gorditas have been formed and filled.
- Heat black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place warm black beans and 1 -2 chipotle chiles in a blender and puree until you have a smooth consistency for the black bean sauce (depending on your taste for spice you can add more chiles or omit them altogether). Adjust seasoning if necessary and transfer to a small bowl, set aside.
- In a large skillet heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the gorditas until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3.5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Place gorditas on a platter. Top gorditas with black bean sauce and sprinkle Cacique® Queso Cotija Grated Cheese over gorditas. Serve remaining black bean sauce in a bowl so your guests can dip their gorditas with more. You can also serve with optional toppings such as pico de gallo, salsa or pickled jalapeños.