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Tortas Ahogadas

8 to 10 Servings
Drowned Tortas


To make the tomato salsa:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water, more or less to taste

To make the spicy salsa:

  • 5 to 8 chiles de arbol, stemmed, more or less to taste
  • 1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

To assemble:

To Prepare

To make the tomato salsa:
  • Place all the tomatoes, garlic, onion, marjoram, oregano, cloves, salt, and pepper into the jar of a blender and puree until completely smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once very hot, but not smoking, pour in the tomato sauce. Cover partially with a lid and cook for 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and seasons. Add the chicken broth, stir, and cook a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat and set aside.
To make the spicy salsa:
  • Heat a comal or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chiles de arbol, and toast for about 1 minute, flipping them around as they do. Remove and set aside.
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with water, and place over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked and mushy. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the tomatoes and garlic to the jar of a blender, along with a cup of their cooking liquid, the toasted chiles de arbol (you can add gradually if you choose), onion, vinegar, cumin and salt. Puree until completely smooth. Taste for vinegar, salt and heat, and adjust accordingly.
  • Heat the oil in saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the pureed sauce, partially cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened, darkened and seasoned.
To assemble the tortas ahogadas:
  • Have the warm carnitas shredded, the bread lightly toasted and the salsas heated.Slice the birotes to create a pocket for the filling, without cutting all the way through. One at a time, with the opening towards the ceiling, tuck in copious amounts of carnitas. Cut in half, place in a soup bowl or deep plate that can withhold sauces. Pour the tomato sauce on top first, and then ladle on as much spicy sauce as each guest desires.