Sope Salad with Chicken and Tomatillo Salsa

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Zach and I love all things Southwest. The flavors and spices of Southwestern cuisine come together in such a magical fashion that any excuse to cook Southwest is an exciting day in this household! But really, is there ever an excuse to not cook Southwest!? Today we have for you our take on the classic Sope dish which has derived from the mexican town of Culiacán, and has somehow traveled its way through Mexico and into southwestern United States. It has arrived into the heart and soul of each and every Southwestern food junkie.

This Sope dish is just a tad different from the rest. Instead of individual Masa shells loaded with delicious toppings, we’ve created a Sope Salad. By layering the ingredients on top of one another and intermingling the use of fresh greens, we think we’ve created someone special for all to enjoy! Add a Fresh Tomatillo Salsa, and it’s just light enough that you could almost call it a Tomatillo salad dressing!

From chiles and tortillas and blue corn and more, the element of flavor that derives from Southwestern cuisine is just unending. And if you have even the slightest edge of creativity, you can take any Southwestern ingredient, combine it with another Southwestern ingredient and create something truly special. This includes the combination of beer! Which this wouldn’t be “cooking and beer,” if there wasn’t some type of beer involved. For this recipe, we recommend an American-style India Pale Ale. For example, Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA would do just the trick. There are just enough floral notes in this IPA to compliment this dish. American-style IPAs go great with many Southwestern-style and Mexican-style cuisine, so I would make the recommendation to keep your fridge stocked with IPAs if you plan on eating a lot of Southwest-style food!

We hope you enjoy!

Sope Salad with Chicken and Tomatillo Salsa
Prep Time
1 hr, 30 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
6 hr, 30 min


  • masa mix, enough for 3 cakes per person, follow directions on packaging
  • spicy cilantro, lime chicken (recipe to follow)
  • 1 1/2 cups jalapeño jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons homemade guacamole (recipe to follow)
  • 2 to 3 cups green leaf lettuce, loosely chopped
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons Tomatillo Salsa (recipe to follow)
  • 1 can black beans, refried
  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 medium-sized spanish onion, quartered
  • the juice from 2 to 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • 2 to 3 very ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup roasted corn
  • 1 large tomato off the vine, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized serrano or jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 10 to 12 fresh tomatillos, husks and cores removed
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • juice from half a lime
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  • Prepare the sopes (corn cakes) from the store-bought masa mix according to the directions on packaging. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Put aside and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile heat the black beans on the stovetop until they reach a “refried” constancy, almost mashed, but not quite.
  • While the beans are heating, start building your sope salad. On your serving dish, lay the corn cakes as the bottom layer. In this order, top the corn cakes with the chicken, “refried” black beans, shredded jack cheese, tomatillo sauce, lettuce, and then top with a tablespoon more of tomatillo sauce. Top with a dollop of sour cream and a tablespoon or two of guacamole.
  • For the chicken, Preheat your slow cooker depending on how long you plan on letting the chicken cook. Most slow cookers have settings for 4 to 10 hours: with 4 hours being the quickest time at the highest temperature and 10 hours being the slowest time at the lowest temperature. Start by putting the chicken stock, lime juice, and onion in the slow cooker. Season the chicken breast with a little salt and pepper on both sides and place in the slow cooker, almost immersing the pieces in the liquid, but not completely. Sprinkle the cilantro in the slow cooker, and then add a bit more salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, cumin, bay leaves and garlic powder to the mixture. Cover and let cook for 4 to 10 hours depending on what setting you chose on your slow cooker. Be sure to only remove the lid occasionally, otherwise it will just take longer to cook =). If you are cooking on the higher setting, your chicken should begin to fall apart around 3 hours, and be almost completely shredded by 4 hours. You can help move this process along, by breaking apart the chicken at about 3 hours. The slow cooker should be able to handle the rest. When the chicken appears to be as shredded as it’s going to get, you can either completely remove from heat, or set your slow cooker to “warm,” and it will keep your chicken warm until you are ready to serve.
  • For the guacamole, . Start by heating your cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. After the skillet is hot enough where if you sprinkle water on it, it sizzles, it’s now ready to roast corn. Place the corn (frozen, canned or fresh off the cob will work) in the skillet and let it roast, only stirring every couple of minutes until slightly brown on all sides. Set the corn aside to cool until ready for use. Next, scoop the avocado flesh out of it’s shell into a medium-sized bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork or handheld potato masher until you get the consistency you desire. Next, squeeze the juice from your lime right on top of the avocado. Not only does this add amazing flavor, but it aids in keeping the avocado from browning, which can happen very quickly if you are not careful. Add your roasted corn, chopped tomato, jalapeño or serrano pepper, cilantro, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients until combined and keep chilled in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  • For the tomatillo sauce, preheat your broiler to HI. Line your baking sheet with a sheet of aluminum foil and place the serrano peppers, poblano pepper, and tomatillos on top. Roast your vegetables about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned and starting to release juices. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for just a couple of minutes. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, quarter the tomatillos, remove the seeds and roughly chop the peppers. Add the peppers, tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to your blender or food processor and pulse until just combined. Remove and chill until ready to serve.


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