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Serves 4
If you’re in a hurry, it’s possible to make these snacks with premade tortillas. However, for the soft richness that Hugo Ortega enjoys at Itanoní in Oaxaca City—a Slow Food restaurant devoted to corn—we recommend making your own tortillas from yellow masa or visually striking blue corn.
    1. 2 cups masa
    2. 1½ cups warm water
    1. 2 tablespoons pork lard
    2. ⅓ cup finely diced white onion
    3. ½ cup cooked black beans, drained
    4. Kosher salt, to taste
    1. 4 Roma tomatoes
    2. 1 small serrano pepper
    3. ½ bunch cilantro, tough stems removed, divided
    4. ½ clove garlic
    5. ¼ cup finely diced white onion
    6. Kosher salt, to taste
    1. 1 cup shredded quesillo cheese
      1. Combine masa and water in a bowl and gently knead with hands. Add more water if needed to make a pliable dough. Divide dough into 6 equal balls and cover with a wet kitchen towel while working.
      2. Place masa ball in a tortilla press lined with 2 rounds of plastic wrap or waxed paper and press. Open press, turn plastic 180 degrees, close, and press again. Peel top plastic from tortilla and loosen tortilla from the other plastic. Set aside. Repeat with remaining masa balls.
      1. Melt lard in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
      2. Mash bean mixture with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
      1. Heat broiler to high. Place tomatoes and pepper on a baking sheet under broiler, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until blackened on all sides. Roughly chop half the cilantro and set aside. Once tomatoes and pepper have cooled, discard stems and tomato skin.
      2. Add tomatoes, chopped cilantro, garlic, pepper, and onion to a blender and process for about 30 seconds. Sauce should look chunky. Finely chop remaining cilantro and add to salsa. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
      1. Place tortilla on a clean work surface and add 1 tablespoon bean paste in the center. Top with 2 tablespoons quesillo.
      2. Fold 1 side of tortilla over filling, and then other side. Fold up bottom to close tetela and create a triangular shape. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
      3. Heat skillet over medium. When hot, add tetelas, seam side down, and cook 2 minutes. Flip and cook other side about 2 minutes. When fully cooked, remove from heat and serve with salsa Mexicana on the side.
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      Chef Hugo Ortega

      Hugo Ortega is executive chef/co-owner of four of Houston’s top restaurants – Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi, and winner of Best Chef: Southwest at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards. (He was a finalist for the award for six consecutive years, 2012- 2017.) Ortega has been recognized locally, nationally and globally for his inspirational story and his passion for sharing traditional Mexican cooking and culture.

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