Coppola Feast

Savory Cotija Churros with Salsa D’Arbol y Tamarindo Recipe

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Learn how to make Savory Cotija Churros with Salsa D’Arbol y Tamarindo from authentic recipes from The Culinary Institute of America.

Savory Cotija Churros with Salsa D’Arbol y Tamarindo.



MAKES 30-40 PIECES (depending on size)

1 cup water
½ cup diced butter (1 stick)
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 pinch cayenne
½ cup grated cotija cheese
¼ cup grated Oaxaca cheese
Salsa D’Arbol y Tamarindo (recipe follows)
Canola oil, for frying as needed

  1. Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously to combine. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes and it leaves a film on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough cools to warm to the touch. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth and homogenous after each addition. Add the cayenne and cheeses and mix until blended.
  3. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe 4 to 5 inch “sticks” on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Put in the freezer for an hour if possible. If you do not have the time to freeze them, you can pipe directly into the fryer.
  4. Heat oil in a fryer or tall-sided pot to 350°. Add the churros 4 to 5 at a time, and fry until puffed and golden brown and crispy. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the proper temperature. Remove from the fryer, season, and move to a roasting rack on a sheet tray.
  5. Serve on a warmed platter with the salsa.




4-6 chile d’arbol, stemmed and seeded
3 whole tomatoes
½ cup quartered onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
¾ cup tamarind pulp
1 Tbsp. ground cumin, toasted
2 tsp. lime juice or white vinegar
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste

  1. In a sauté pan, toast the chiles for 30 seconds until fragrant, and reserve in a small bowl.
  2. In the same pan, blister the tomatoes, onion, and garlic under a broiler until lightly charred on the outside.
  3. Transfer the ingredients in the pan to a small sauce pot along with the reserved toasted chiles, tamarind pulp, cumin, lime juice or vinegar, cilantro, and enough water to just cover. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to a simmer and cook until everything is soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine chinoise and reserve the liquid. Blend the solids in a blender pitcher using the reserved liquid to thin the mixture to a medium-thick consistency.


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