Torta what? If you have never had a Mexican torta, you should seek out a local Mexican restaurant, an authentic one, and try one of their tortas. They are Mexican sandwiches that can be made in a variety of different ways. One of my favorites, is one loaded with avocado, refried beans, lettuce, and carnitas. However, there is one torta that can pack a great punch of heat. One that is a bit sloppy to eat, and furthermore, one very difficult to put down because it is so delicious. It is called a torta ahogada.
A torta ahogada is a particular type of Mexican sandwich that is derived from Guadalajara, but can be found, or sought after in other Mexican cities. Typically, the sandwich can be fully submerged in a chili sauce made from chili de arbol, and depending on the the amount of chilies, the sauce can get rather spicy, very much how I like it. When you think of a fully submerged sandwich, you might think like I do, probably not the best way to eat a sandwich, so instead, I simply ladle on a bunch of the sauce in the interior, giving a better approach to eat the sandwich.
As the sauce has a bunch of ingredients, this sandwich is worth making and is great for a party. It is not only fun to make, but it is also a seriously great sandwich to eat.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients for the Carnitas: [Print this Recipe]
- 2 1/2 lbs of pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin powder
Add these ingredients to a bowl, giving a good mix and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
During this time, begin making the sauce for the ahogada.
Ingredients for the Sauce:
- 20 chile de arbol, stems and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup of cider vinegar
- 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered, pulp removed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- small pinch of ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
- 1/2 cup of water
Place all of your ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth sauce. Feel free to strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer if you prefer to remove any of the solids. I prefer to leave some of the texture in the sauce. Set aside.
Ingredients for making the sandwich:
- Hard rolls, like an Italian hard roll or a French Batard (You want a hard exterior and a soft interior)
- Pickled red onions (for a quicker pickle, you can add sliced onions to orange juice, with a couple of bay leaves for about two hours)
- Avocado, sliced (optional)
To cook the carnitas, add the marinated pork and the marinade to a heavy pot. Pour in water to just cover the top of the pork. Cover, turn the heat on medium, then uncover in 2 hours. Turn up the heat and reduce all of the liquid, stirring along the way. Continue to cook the pork, getting the exterior a bit browned and crisp. Once the liquid is dissolved, turn off the heat, and poke a fork into it. The pork should fall apart. Resist to try the pork, as you might eat a lot of it!
To make the sandwich, slice your bread lengthwise, making a nice pocket. Do not slice all of the way through.
Stuff the carnitas into the pocket, and pour on the sauce. Top with pickled onions and dig in.
Three words. Nothing like it. Hope you enjoy.