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Mexican gorditas are served with perfectly seasoned taco meat and lots of taco toppings.

Ground Beef Gorditas

One of the big reasons that I chose The Pastry Queen for this month’s Cookbook of the Month is simply because it has both sweet and savory recipes. Despite what it might look like on my blog, I really only make dessert for the two of us once a week. (This doesn’t count work treats or birthday treats!) So by choosing a dessert only cookbook, that means that that cookbook is the only one I will use for desserts that month. Although that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, sometimes I want to use some of my other cookbooks or recipes I have found elsewhere, and waiting for the whole month to be over is torture sometimes. It usually means I end up making an extra dessert, which we really don’t need!! (But we enjoy it nonetheless!)

So when I learned of this cookbook, I thought it would be perfect. And even more perfect when I received my copy and learned that it also had a breakfast section.

I went through the chapter on Lunches and Light Dinners – so many of them sound delicious!! I really wanted to make the Green Chilie Crab Cakes with Tomatillo Salsa, but my grocery store was out of lump crabmeat (and I don’t dare buy it anywhere else around here.) My next choice was Brie and Brisket Quesadillas, but I didn’t have time to make the brisket. I’m going to have to try that one over a weekend. Then I saw the recipe for Ground Beef Gorditas, and knew that it was another that I wanted to try. I have never had a gordita, and the only ones my husband has had were from Taco Bell. (I absolutely refuse to eat Taco Bell. I’m not a fast food snob, but I haven’t had Taco Bell in probably 11 years, and I don’t intend to start any time soon!) So gorditas it was.

I knew it had to happen sooner or later – to have a cookbook of the month recipe that just didn’t work out for me. I have been debating for the last few days whether or not I should even post it, but I’m just keeping it real here! Let me first say that I totally blame myself. This recipe obviously works, because it is served at the author’s restaurant. And I don’t really know what goes into making a cookbook, but I’m pretty sure there are recipe testers in the equation, and if the recipe doesn’t work, the recipe wouldn’t be in the cookbook. But for some reason, my gorditas turned out like concrete disks. The recipe says to slice them in half – there was no way I could get into them, so I cut them in half instead. We each took a couple bites, and that’s about as far as we could go. We couldn’t even bite into them without effort or without worrying that we would chip a tooth.

But there is definitely good that came out of this recipe. The beef filling is fantastic!! I’m not sure if it is the mix of spices, or if it’s the addition of the tomato sauce, but this filling would be perfect for tacos – in fact, this will probably be my go-to recipe for taco meat now. We actually ended up taking the meat from the gorditas and putting it in tortillas and eating that for dinner. It started out as a disaster, but ended up as a delicious dinner!

So now I ask you – if you have made gorditas before, what did I do wrong? I would love to learn from my mistake, but I just can’t figure it out.

I’m giving you the recipe – but prepare the gorditas at your own risk!! But the beef mixture – definitely try it!

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Ground Beef Gorditas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mexican gorditas are served with perfectly seasoned taco meat and lots of taco toppings.
Serves: 8 servings
Gordita Dough
  • 4 cups corn masa mix, or 12 ounces fresh masa dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt, f necessary
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Safflower oil, for frying
Beef Filling
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (like Tobasco)
  • 1 8-oz can plain tomato sauce
For Assembling
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled or grated Monterey Jack
  • ½ cup sour cream
For the Dough:
  1. If using the mix, mix in a large bowl according to the package instructions. Beat the masa, butter and salt in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until it forms a ball. If using fresh dough, just add the butter and mix until a ball is formed. Using your hands, shape the dough into 8 discs, roughly 4 inches across and ½ inch thick. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Cook the gorditas until lightly browned on each side, about 5 to 10 minutes on each side.
  2. Fill a large skillet with enough oil to come about ½ inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat until hot enough that the oil bubbles when a small ball of dough is dropped in. Lower the gorditas into the hot oil โ€“ the oil should start bubbling. Fry the gorditas for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
For the Beef Filling:
  1. Saute the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is brown โ€“ 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off the fat. Add the garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
To assemble.
  1. Split gorditas in half and set them on individual plates. Spoon the beef mixture over the bottom halves. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Lean the top half of the gordita at an angle on top of the beef mixture and serve.

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32 Responses to Ground Beef Gorditas {Cookbook of the Month Recipe}

  1. glamah16 says:

    Sorry the gordita part didnt turn out. But as you try all these cookbooks( which is admirable) there are bound to be some duds. Posting about the not so succesful is just as helpgul as the successes.BTW,I was wondering how you two ate all those desserts!Now I know.

  2. RecipeGirl says:

    Too funny- There are bound to be recipes that won’t work out, no matter what you do. Kudos to you for posting about a failure!

    I’m with you about desserts… I post an awful lot of them on my blog but most are shared or given away ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Elle says:

    First off, fantastic photo! Makes me want to dig right in.

    Second, looking at the dough recipe, I thought liquid might be missing. I googled gordita dough recipes and guess what? They all have liquid–water, chicken stock, etc. That must have been left out of the recipe.

    But at least you salvaged it and had a great dinner! The filling sounds really good!

  4. Mary says:

    The beef part looks really good. I’ve never had a gordita before so I’m no help, but I think it’s great you post all these recipes from different cookbooks.

  5. Karen says:

    I’m a sucker for those taco seasoning packets but worry about all of the chemicals and salt. The beef recipe looks like a winner and one to try!

  6. Ursula says:

    My husband is Mexican, so I have the gordita nearly perfected. This is the recipe I use that is amazing:

    1 c masa harina
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    2 tbsp flour
    1 cup + 2 Tbsp warm water
    Oil for frying

    Add all of your dry ingredients into a food processor/mixing bowl. As the machine is running, slowly add the warm water until a dough forms. (the ball should be neither wet nor crumbly) Add a bit more masa or water to get the right consistency. Place the dough in a plastic bag and let it rest for 20 minutes.

    Heat about 2″ of oil in a deep pan to about 365F.

    Pinch off 6 rounds of dough about the size of a golf ball and flatten each to 2 1/2 inches about 1/4 inch thick. Fry the gorditas and spoon hot oil over the top to encourage it to puff up until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and split each horizontally. You can even scoop out some of the inner dough to make the pocket a bit bigger (my husband does this). Fill and eat!

    Just remember when not using the dough, keep it covered to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Any extra dough can be bagged and refrigerated.

    Looks like it’s gorditas in our house tonight!

  7. Ann says:

    Your photo is mouth-watering! The recipe I have always used is as follows (and ursula’s recipe looks really good, too!):

    2 cups Masa Harina
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons shortening
    1-1/2 cups warm water
    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    Combine the masa, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Add shortening and water. Knead until all ingredients are well blended and you are able to form a ball. Divide dough into 14 balls. Keep dough covered. Using a rolling pin, a tortilla press, or your hands, press each ball between 2 plastic bags to form a circle (or a disk) that has a 5-inch diameter and is 1/4-inch thick.

    To form and cook the gorditas, lay gordita on preheated griddle. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. While still warm, pinch edge to form a 1-inch rim. The gordita should resemble a small saucer.

    Preheat oven to 150ยฐF. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

    To fry gorditas, use a large frying pan. Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil and fry 2 to 3 gorditas at a time for 1 to 2 minutes, turning frequently, until the two sides are lightly brown and crisp. Place fried gorditas in prepared baking pan and placed in preheated oven to keep warm.

  8. Rosie says:

    Firstly I am sorry to hear your gordita didn’t turn out. But boy I could still tuck into your ground beef part.

    Your pic looks stunning I have to say and it is wonderful you share with us recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rosie x

  9. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, the name “gorditas” makes me laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m not familiar with this dish, but I can tell it looks delish! That beef filling would make Joao so happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Deborah says:

    Thanks girls – I knew there was a reason I ended up posting this!! It looks like the missing ingredient in the recipe I posted is the baking powder. Mine didn’t puff at all, probably because the missing baking powder. I think the mystery is solved!!

  11. Kelly-Jane says:

    I’ve not made these before, but I’m sorry to hear it didn’t turn out, but still looking forward to more from this book ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. ruthEbabes says:

    I’m always looking for new mince recipes. I’ll be trying the mince here!

  13. Steph says:

    I’ve tried numerous recipes from great cookbooks that just don’t work out, and it always leaves me dumbfounded! I never understand what I’ve done wrong when clearly I follow the recipe word for word. Frustrating I know but at least something good came out of it!

  14. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Sorry your gorditas didn’t turn out. I have the same problem when I try to make empanadas. They’re like hockey pucks! The filling is always the best part anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    I always make goofy jokes about Taco Bell Gorditas because of their commercial. But you’re making me take them much more seriously now. They look mighty hearty and delicious!

  16. Ben says:

    I just love gorditas, but haven’t had a decent one in ages. I will try this recipe. Thanks!

  17. Ellie @ Kitchen Wench says:

    No idea what a gordita is but sorry to hear it didn’t work out ๐Ÿ™ But at least the beef filling was lovely – and to be honest, it’s what really grabbed my eye in the photos ๐Ÿ˜€ So in lieu of the gorditas, what would you suggest serving the beef with (that isn’t tacos as I’m not a huge fan)?

  18. Katie says:

    Hi Deborah

    I have tagged you for a Six Word Memoir.
    Please go to my blog for info

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Lore says:

    At least you now have a new favourite mixture for tacos. Will have to remember that mixture for the next tacos dinner!

  20. Kevin says:

    It is too bad they didn’t work out. They sound good. So do the other recipes in that book. Now I am going to have to look for a gordita recipe to try.

  21. Bellini Valli says:

    If you know Ben of Whats Cooking-US he will have a recipe for gorditas that is fail proof I am sure. His family owned a Mexican restaurant. I tried to make sopas and they were a bomb..but we will persevere:D

  22. Kristen says:

    Yummmy! I’m sorry it didn’t turn out, but it sure looks delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. KJ says:

    That’s a shame Deborah. I guess mistakes happen – ingredients get left out, wrong amounts included etc. Who knows?

  24. Mary says:

    I tagged you for the 6 word meme! (Please don’t be annoyed!)

  25. Veron says:

    The ground beef filling looks delicious. There is always that recipe that does not work and really should be tested better.

  26. Elle says:

    Everyone is talking about this cookbook…gotta check it out!

    Iโ€™ve awarded your blog and โ€œE for Excellentโ€. Go to my Feeding My Enthusiasms site at http://feedingmyenthusiasm.blogspot.com to see the post. You were an easy choice with such a great blog.

  27. Katie says:

    These look really good! I’m suprised they didn’t work out, but it looks yummy nonetheless!

  28. Cara says:

    I’m so glad you tried this recipe, even though it didn’t work out for you. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while, and even bought all the ingredients…but I think making the masa dough intimidated me a little, so I haven’t tried it yet. I may have to try it with some of the dough recipes posted in the other comments!

  29. TOMO says:

    Mmmmmm, Gorditas, I LOVE them! I was lucky to eat my fill of these while Living in Las Cruces NM. I too have attempted to make my own, but have to failed miserably! I truly believe I need to be a Hispanic 70 to 80 year old abula (Grandmother)who can create this wonderful dish in her sleep, with hands of old that can roll , flatten and dip in oil this elusive fried dough that brings added flavor to the Gordita! This must be the key!, I never see anyone else in the back kitchen frying up this delicious food., But Seriously, I think the Key to the Dough, is LARD! Just like good flour tortillas as well as Tamales, its what gives them that great taste!

    Keep Trying!

  30. Deb says:

    I have made them in the past, years ago. I would take a ball and pat it to a circle form, dry fry it on both sides a few minutes on each side..
    drop in into a deep fry and when it came to the top remove it.. usually both sides were done, drain it and split it open to fill. The best ones are in San Antonio in the Market Place, they are divine!
    There use to be a recipe for the dough on the side of the White Wing Flour bag~~ to tell you the truth I don’t remember making them with butter. That might be the issue.
    will send you the recipe if I come across it.
    Love your blogs !

  31. Linda says:

    Hello, I have been obsessed with gorditas for a year or so. Have found u don’t need banking powder at all. Follow instructions on masa bag then form 1/8 inch thick. Cook on griddle only a minute or two. Then fry on med high spooning grease over them. The secret is to not dry out the dough and spooning grease over makes them puff because the two sides cook at different temps yet both sides are set to trap moisture- thus the puff. Really pretty easy. Oh yes, also let dough
    Rest 15-30 min. Covered. Hope this helps someone. They are delicious and fun to make. I cook on griddle, cool, refrigerated, and fry up to three days latter and get a puff. Good luck.

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