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MARTIN
Fry Jacks

Fry Jacks are a staple in Belize at breakfast with sausage, bacon, eggs and refried beans. But very fortunately, you can have them for lunch and dinner as well. I know, I did. A fry jack is a stuffed tortillas, deep fried, of course. It can hold anything you like, but mine had bacon and shredded cheese. Anything with bacon and cheese is going to be delicious, and it only becomes more delicious when it is deep fried. Notice, I haven't said anything about this dish being healthy, but I can stress the deliciousness.

I didn't have them often. But, one morning my sister said that Dommie (my favorite local chef) was busy making fry jacks for breakfast. Then she asked, " Was I interested?"

You don't have to ask twice.

 

Dommie's Fry Jacks
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Dough:    
xxxx 1 pound of flour xxxx dash of salt
  1 level tsp baking powder   2 Tbs oil
       
 

The most important -- and difficult -- part of this project is making the tortillas. Mix up all the dry ingredients with a cup of water. You aren't supposed to pour all the water in at once. For whatever reason, it's supposed to be poured in slowly and a little at a time. You don't want the dough to be sticky. It's one of those moments when people who make bread, or lots of tortillas, know what the dough is supposed to look like. For the rest of us, do the best you can.

The trick is not to play with the dough too much. The more you play with it, the harder and stiffer your dough will be. My sister said the one time she made home-made tortillas, they were rock hard. Dommie makes them soft and to perfection.

The cheaters way to make the tortillas would be to roll the dough into a log, slice off a section about the size of an egg, gently roll it into a ball and let it rise for 15 minutes. That's not what Dommie does. She puts a wad of dough between her palms and gently squeezes a blob between her thumbs. Then, she pinches if off egg size and lets it rise.

If both of those options are just too difficult, I have a third option. Dommie thought it was just horrible, but she admitted that it would work. Buy yourself a package or already made soft-shelled tortillas about the size of a salad plate.

If you opt to make the tortillas, grease a surface and individually press out those blobs of dough until you have tortillas the size of a salad plate.

       
Filling (per person):    
  1 - 2 Tbs refried beans   1 Tbs bacon
  1 Tbs shredded cheddar cheese   .....(or sausage, turkey, sliced ham)
       
 

You're eventually going to fold your tortilla in half, so you only have to put ingredients on half of the bread dough. You can pretty much put anything in a fried jack that you want to fry up. For this recipe, spread on the refried bean, your cheese of choice (in my family it's always cheddar) and your desired meat.

Fold the tortilla half over the goodies. Dommie pinches the edge like a pie crust all the way around to seal everything inside. It's both effective and so very beautiful. If you opt to try this with pre-made tortillas, you couldn't do the decorative seal. However, you could possibly use toothpicks to hold the tortillas shut. My guess is three per tortilla. However, it will never look as good as Dommie's trim.

Once the fry jacks are sealed, you need to gently place them in very hot grease. You want the dish golden brown on both sides. It'll take about a minute on each side to do this.

       
Salsa:    
  4 tomatoes   salt to taste
  1 habenero pepper   2 stalks of cilantro
  1/4 small onion    
       

Top your fry jacks with home-made salsa. It's not hard to make. It's a no-fear recipe.

Wash four tomatoes and then place them in a saucepan with about 3/4 inches of water. If you like some heat, add in a habenero pepper. If you live on the wild side, add in a couple more. Boil them up until they are soft. When the boiling is done, toss the water.

Put the tomatoes and pepper(s) in a blender with the onion, salt and cilantro. Puree away to your heart's content. Then, you are ready to top your fry jack.

If your dough is soft and prepared correctly, it puffs up inside. My sister said you could make this recipe without the filling. Then, when it's all fried up, drizzle honey inside and eat it like a Mexican sopapilla. This is also no stress cooking. If for some reason it doesn't puff up properly, it's fried and there is honey. It's going to taste delicious.

 
Fry Jacks for lunch
In this particular case, it appeared that the bread was fried separately. Then, it was cut open and filled with heated pulled chicken and cold cole slaw.
 
Copyright 2017 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.