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Posted on Oct 15, 2007 | 6 comments

Lunches with pork mole sopes

Lunches with pork mole sopes

To keep lunches from getting boring, find ways to transform dinner leftovers into different dishes (“leftover makeovers” or “leftover remakes”). Earlier in the week we had pork carnitas tacos for dinner, so I mixed the leftover carnitas with some instant mole sauce and made it into sopes. Sopes are little discs of corn masa (like tiny thick tortillas with a lip around the edge) with toppings, typically something like refried beans with grated cheese, onion and hot chili sauce. I ran these under the broiler to make them neater to eat on the go.

Sopes lunch

Contents of my husband’s meal: Homemade sopes with leftover pork carnitas (Del Real brand carnitas from Costco, full thoughts here), mole sauce and Monterey Jack cheese melted on top. Side dish of berenjenas con vainitas (Venezuelan dish of eggplant with green beans) and grape tomatoes. Not shown: a little sauce container with crema (sour cream) for the sopes. I got the recipe from award-winning cookbook The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. From the book jacket: She “describes how the Spanish, Portuguese, African, and Middle Eastern influences have combined with the indiginous cooking of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations.” An interesting read with extensive commentary on each recipe.

Prep time: 18 minutes, using leftover carnitas and eggplant with green beans. The masa discs for the sopes were ready-made from my local Mexican market, so I heated them up to soften, mixed the already-shredded carnitas with instant mole sauce, assembled and ran them under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Sopes lunch

Packing: I put the side dishes in reusable silicone baking cups to keep the moisture away from the sopes, and used grape tomatoes as gap fillers to stabilize the lunch during transport. Packed in a 500ml Leaflet box with movable divider.

My meal: Contents are the same as my husband’s, with the beans packed in a smaller disposable food cup (“leisure version” — ha ha) to fit the smaller space. Lunch packed in my 470ml Afternoon Tea box without the removable divider (box bought for US$2 at Irving Housewares in San Francisco).

Sopes lunch for preschooler

Contents of preschooler’s meal: Homemade sopes with chopped carnitas mixed with a little Lizano sauce, topped with cheese. Side dishes of green beans (he was not a fan of the olive-laden eggplant dish), an entire miniature Fuji apple, and a little cup of creme caramel (Kiku brand “Petit Pudding”). Not shown: a little squeeze bottle of crema (sour cream) for the sopes.

Packing: I cut the sopes into quarters to make them easy for little hands to eat, and cut off a thin slice of the apple at the bottom so that it would fit inside of the bento box. A tiny clear plastic spoon for the pudding cup is tucked in alongside the sopes. Lunch packed in a 350ml Power Rangers bento box.

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  1. Did the pre-school lift the ban on dairy products?
    I’m thinking about the crema you sent along for the sopes.

  2. @1 from Jessica: Busted! When I make the three meals on Thursdays for husband, me, & Bug, they’re for dinner and not lunch. We attend an event every Thursday night that has us eating outside the house, so this wasn’t actually eaten at Bug’s preschool. Had he taken this to school, however, I would have held back the crema. Good spot!

  3. Hi!

    Why would the shcools ban dairy products? I can understand nuts but I did not knew that American were so allergics? (Hope you understand my English!)

  4. @3 from Sophie: It’s not all schools that ban dairy products, it’s uncommon. My son’s preschool bans milk (& yogurt, as I understand it) as one of the children has a milk allergy (different from lactose intolerance). Same with peanuts. If you’re interested, the full blog post on lunchroom restrictions is here with a very active comment section.

  5. How did the sopes taste in the box lunch? Most cookbooks specify that the sope is a “griddle to mouth” food, it must be eaten very soon after cooking. But then again, these books are by purists like Diana Kennedy…

  6. @5 from Marc: They are definitely better fresh off the griddle when they’re still warm, but I find if you spice the filling a little more heavily than usual (and melt the cheese on to make it easier/neater to eat) they’re quite acceptable as a room-temperature box lunch. My three-year-old devours them at room temp, so that audience is satisfied! Great blog, BTW, Marc — I really liked the entry on sopes I linked to above, as well as your many other cooking entries. Great job!