October 25, 2008

Chalupa: The Tale of Two (Or Maybe Three) Versions

Chalupa. Chalupa, Chalupa, Chalupa. There is a long and sordid story about Chalupa. My mother-in-law has been making Chalupa for years, and it is one of my husband's family favorites. I never knew that there was an official recipe for Chalupa...I just thought it was something that she had made up.
Her version of Chalupa is pretty plain, and that is how I thought that it was supposed to be. Usually, she just puts a pork roast in the crock pot with some dried pinto beans and covers it with water. After she cooks it on low all day, she shreds the meat with a fork. I am pretty sure that it is not seasoned with anything. Then, to serve it, she put Fritos in the bottom of a bowl, tops the Fritos with the meat and beans, adds shredded cheese, salsa and the liquid from the crock pot. Voila, Chalupa.
My husband and his family go nuts for it! They LOVE it. I told my husband that I would learn how to make it, since it is a family staple. For the most part, I like it too...I just need to add hot sauce. It is very homey, almost like a stew or soup. My little one loves the idea of eating Fritos as part of dinner, so he is a huge Chalupa fan too.

So one day, I asked my mother in law how she makes Chalupa. She produced an old cookbook from church (i.e. all the church members contributed a recipe and they printed a cookbook for a school fundraiser) and low and behold...a recipe for Chalupa. I noticed that the original cookbook recipe looked a lot different from my mother in laws version. There were a lot of extra spices and ingredients that were listed on the actual recipe, that she did not add. So why skip the good stuff? Her explanation was that she did not like some of the extra ingredients/spices, so she paired it down to what she liked and what she knew her kids (i.e. my husband and his brother) would eat. Hmmmmm....I like spices. I thought everyone liked spices. Huh. I was shocked that someone would prefer to leave out spices. What??? Not like spices???Inconceivable!
I have always been curious how the original Chalupa was supposed to taste, so I vowed to make the recipe version someday. Hence, the two version of Chalupa.

Well, today is not the day I will be trying the original version. I told you there was a long sordid story about Chalupa! Really this is my version of Chalupa, based on what I have on hand. Technically, after this post, there will be three versions of Chalupa. Mine will be a cross between the original recipe and my mother-in-law's version. I think I am only going to post my version here today. That way, when I do finally get around to making the original version, it will be all new and exciting. I want to keep you in suspense...it is all about the drama.

Chalupa: Jen's Version

leftover pork roast
leftover green chile sauce
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 can of pinto beans
Sun Chips
shredded cheese

In a large sauce pan add meat, chicken stock and beans. Bring to a boil to heat through, and then reduce to a low simmer. Reheat green chile sauce in microwave and set aside. In a serving bowl, crush a handful of sun chips at the bottom of the bowl. Top with shredded cheese. Top with meat and beans. Spoon some reheated green chile sauce over meat and beans. Add chicken stock until you get a soup/stew like consistency. Top with salsa to taste.

The Result:
This was really fast to put together! I think it took me 5 minutes total, since everything was basically cooked. It turned out really, really yummy. Pretty much like my mother in law's version, except a little spicer. The only issue we had was the Sun Chips. It seems that Fritos hold up better and retain their crunch. The Sun Chips pretty much wilted completely. We have some leftovers, so I think we will put the Sun Chips on top next time, to avoid the texture breakdown. I am too cheap to go buy a bag of Fritos just for leftover Chalupa. Also, Fritos are not my favorite. The flavor of the Sun Chips was good, and held up nicely. Overall, fast, filling, and totally yummy!

1 comment:

Jen said...

My mother NEVER cooked with any spices. Not even salt and pepper. I have slowly had to learn spices from my husband. I guess some people just like things bland. Luckily I am no longer one of those people. :)
Jen A.