Sopes are one of my absolute favorite Mexican foods. I order them all the time at local taquerias and thought it was time for me to learn how to make them. This is my first attempt at sopes with carne asada and it turned out quite well. However, I cheated. I used store bought thick corn tortillas. That’s ten lashes with a hot tamale.
Carne asada is just grilled beef. It one of the most common meats to order with authentic Mexican tacos. I recently found a great Mexican grocery store in Springdale. They have a great butcher shop as well as all the fresh fruits and veggies you would expect.
How To Dress Up Your Sopes
This is a really simple version of sopes with carne asada. I left out the queso fresco and sour cream to make it dairy free. Also, you can top it with just about any salsa you want. I recommend hoarding some green and red salsas from your local Mexican restaurant to put on these. That’s what I did.
The base for the sope is a really thick corn tortilla that’s usually homemade. You can probably find these at a good Mexican market. The ones I found were not quite as thick as what you would get in an authentic Mexican restaurant, but were just as tasty.
On the side, add a handful of fried ripe plantains to give some sweet with the savory of the sopes. Black beans are also a great side for sopes with carne asada.
I used skirt steak for the meat here, but any good cut of beef (other than ground beef) would work well. You just need to cut it into little bits to fit it on your tortilla.
In Praise Of Plantains
No, it’s not a banana! It’s a gawldarn plantain.
To cook the plantains, peel them and slice into rounds of uniform width. Heat up enough oil that it covers the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch thick to medium heat. You can use more oil, but it’s not necessary. Also, I don’t like to have a lot of leftover oil so I make it a shallow fry. The trick is to make sure your oil is hot before you throw in the plantains. Drop a bit of flour in the oil and it should sizzle on contact when it’s hot enough. Cook the plantains for about 5 minutes per side or until they are dark brown.
For the sopes, heat a large pan or griddle to medium high heat and add some oil. Sprinkle some salt on your skirt steak (salt beforehand an hour or so if you have time). Cook the skirt steak for 3-4 minutes per side or until it gets some dark brown spots on it and the juices evaporate. Remove from heat and slice into bite size pieces.
For the toppings, slice an onion really thin, add some chopped cilantro and then drizzle your favorite salsa on top. Feel free to add a mild queso fresco and some sour cream if you want dairy.
Disclaimer: there was a time in my naïve youth when I thought real Mexican food was a plate full of fajitas smothered with sour cream and tomato salsa. I have since seen the light. I recognize that this sort of Tex Mex dish has its place in the culinary world, but it is not among those one would call authentic. Learning about the peppers, spices and other ingredients used in authentic Mexican food has been one of the greatest joys for me in my years of cooking. I encourage everyone to branch out and dig deep into other cuisine. You may like what you find.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 15 minutes SERVINGS: 6
- 2 lbs. skirt steak
- olive oil
- 6 extra thick corn tortillas
- 1 onion, sliced very thin
- 1 handful chopped cilantro
toppings: salsa, sour cream, queso fresco
- Heat two tablespoons or so of oil in a large pan or griddle over medium high heat. After salting the skirt steak, cook it on the griddle for 3-4 minutes per side or until some dark brown spots appear and juices evaporate. Remove from heat and slice into bite size pieces.
- Heat several tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add corn tortillas to pan and cook until slightly brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Make sure you have enough oil for a good coating on the tortilla. Remove from heat. Serve sopes with steak, sliced onions, cilantro and salsa piled on top.