Sopapilla (Little Pillows)
People call them little pillows, but the name really means “holding soup.” Sopapillas are one of many foods that New Mexico can call it’s own - The New Mexican Quick Bread. The history of the sopapilla is over 200 years old, originating in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. It is often as much a staple of many New Mexican meals as the tortilla.
Both sopapillas and tortillas are used as “sop” breads, either soaking up the liquids in a dish, or stuffing them with the foods so they can be eaten without the use of knife and fork. Make alterations based on the way
the dough felt to them, much the same way as many people measure ingredients for biscuits. In fact, you will mix these much the way you do biscuits.
Add the milk all at once, and mix the dough quickly with a fork or by hand until the dough forms a mass.
Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap to let it rest for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Roll the dough half you have chosen on a floured board with gentle strokes. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. The more you work the dough, the tougher your sopapilla will turn out. However, to keep a sopapilla well puffed after cooking, you may want to work the dough a minute or so longer.
Cut the dough into rectangles that are about 10-inch by 5-inch. Divide the triangle into a 5-inch squares, and then cut this into a triangle. NOTE: If you find the dough beginning to dry as you work with the remainder, cover this loosely with a some plastic wrap.
Do not attempt to reform and roll the leftover dough scraps. They do not roll out well on the second try. You can cook these dough scraps along with the others, and they taste just as good.
Carefully slide the first sopapilla into the hot oil. Submerge the sopapilla under the oil. It should begin to puff immediately.
Using a slotted spoon, turn the sopapilla over to brown the other side. Sometimes this can be difficult, as the sopapilla will want to stay on the side it was on. A little coaxing with your slotted spatula will help this. Hold it for only a moment, and it will adjust to the side it is on. Once both sides are browned, remove the sopapilla to a surface to drain (paper towels or a draining rack will both work).
NOTE: Sopapillas can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.