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Author Notes: I hope it's not cheating to include a sauce. These dumplings are also delicious simmered in chili verde or in soups with Mexican flavors, but I like them very much in this rich enchilada sauce.
This simple recipe has been evolving over the last few months. I cannot get enough of these chewy little dumplings, so hearty, inexpensive, and easy to make. - Literary Equivalent —Literary Equivalent
Food52 Review: This recipe was very yummy and quite easy to prepare. I had a little trouble achieving the right consistency for the dumplings: I bought the fine-ground maiz harina but I would suggest seeking out extra fine or trying to find a brand that makes a more finely ground maiz. Other than that snag, the dough was easy to make and work with. The dumplings were tasty and I am excited to try different fillings. It was true that once in the sauce they were sturdier than you would think and could be stirred without breaking. The enchilada sauce was wonderful, savory and smoky! I used chipotle chili powder and ground my own ancho chili powder and the sauce turned out very smoky and altogether delicious. - alexmr —alexmr
Serves 4 generously
For the chochoyotes
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoons salt (optional; if using stock as liquid, do not include)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 to 3 ounces cotija cheese (or you can substitute sharp cheddar)
- Mix all ingredients except cheese until well incorporated, and knead until the mixture is the texture of modeling clay, homogeneous and smooth.
- Allow mixture to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
- With moistened hands, roll mixtures into walnut-sized balls, tucking a nugget of cheese into the center of each ball. Be sure any cheese has been fully encapsulated by masa.
- Drop dumplings into simmering sauce or soup (recipe follows) and allow to simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. Don't be afraid to gently stir the sauce to keep it from sticking -- the dumplings are sturdier than they seem and will survive gentle manipulation even while they cook.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, cut "a la pluma" - into thin half-moons
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 large chipotle chili (dried), pulverized in a spice grinder (or substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 3 cups water
- 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
- salt to taste
- 6 sprigs cilantro
- 4 cooked boneless/skinless chicken breasts (I like to bake them in a glass dish for 20-25 minutes at 350, seasoned well with salt and pepper, while I am making the sauce)
- Melt butter in large, wide pan with lid. (I use my chicken-frying pan.) Saute onions until golden in butter over a medium flame.
- Add garlic and flour, and stir and fry a few minutes until flour has started to turn golden and lost its raw aroma.
- Add spices and liquids (including tomatoes, but save the cilantro for garnish) and turn down heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is rich and delicious.
- Turn down heat until sauce is barely simmering. Scatter chochoyotes into sauce and cover pan, simmering for 5 to 10 minutes. Add cooked chicken breasts and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes or so until heated through and flavored with sauce.
- Serve one chicken breast, a few chochoyotes, and a ladleful or two of sauce to each diner. Mince or tear cilantro and scatter over, along with any cheese that didn't make it into the dumplings. Enjoy!