This recipe is one that is really special to me. Growing up my mom made it pretty frequently for us and it has always been one of my favorite things she made. She got the recipe from some really awesome family friends of ours (the Grijalva’s) who live in Los Mochis, Mexico. We actually call these friends of ours “Our Mexican Family” because they are like family to us. My mom and dad trusted them enough to send me down to Mexico by myself not once but TWICE to spend the summer learning Spanish and having way too much fun. Some of my best memories from growing up were spent in Los Mochis during the hot summers. One thing the family is known for, besides their kind and welcoming personalities, is their cooking. On my first trip to Los Mochis when I was probably about 7 my mom actually had to tell me to stop eating so many of Irma’s homeade frijoles and tortillas because she was afraid I was going to get sick. This recipe is another one that we ate while visiting and my mom was smart enough to ask them to give us the recipe.
“Tortas Ahogadas” literally means “Drowned Sandwiches” in Spanish. These are meant to be eaten with a fork and knife as you are supposed to “drown” the sandwich with the sauce and thus, render it impossible to eat with your hands. As I was researching other Tortas Ahogadas recipes online today I noticed that almost all of them were made with pork, rather than beef like this one. I’m sure it’s great with pork but I am determined to keep the Grijalva tradition going and use beef roast. Unfortunately, living in Arizona makes it a lot harder to find dried chile peppers than it was in Texas. I was only able to find one kind labeled “California Dried Peppers” so I went with it. Also, I wasn’t able to bring my slow cooker to Arizona with me because it’s too bulky so this was the first time for me to attempt making it on the stove top. Don’t make the same mistake I did and get too impatient and therefore turn the heat up so high that the water starts boiling. It made the roast a little tougher than it normally it is.
Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)
3 Anaheim Chiles (dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane) As stated above, just use whatever large dried chiles you can find.
3 Pasilla Chiles (dry…cleaned)
1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
1 onion (coarsely chopped)
4-6 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Teaspoon of oregano
10 sun-dried tomatoes (you can use dry or packed in oil…I used in oil b/c that’s what I had on hand)
2-3 canned chipotle chilies (depending on the amount of spice that you like) to add to broth, after meat has been stewed
Cook the above ingredients in 2 liters of water until meat is tender (I usually use slow cooker on low for about 8 hours but this time I cooked on stovetop for about 2 hours…do not boil, just simmer the whole time) Take out the meat and shred with two forks (so that the pieces aren’t too big for the sandwiches) Cool for a while before proceeding with the next step so that you don’t burn yourself. Add the chipotle chilies to the broth (with meat still removed) and process either in small batches in food processor/blender or use immersion blender (lifesaver!).
½ liter of Crema Fresca (sometimes labeled “Mexican Crema” and can be found in the dairy aisle…or sour cream works too) I just used the whole jar of Crema.
3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon of mustard (roughly)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Avocado (slices to go on sandwiches)
Assembly: Lay out a roll and place meat on one side. Then ladle some of the sauce over the top of the meat and top with avocado and Crema. I also drown the tops of the sandwiches with sauce and squeeze a wedge of lime on top. These are fork & knife sandwiches…don’t even think about trying to eat with your hands! Enjoy!