, Tortas Ahogadas, Friday Night Snacks and More...

Tortas Ahogadas

, Tortas Ahogadas, Friday Night Snacks and More...

Tortas Ahogadas

Mike Nadelman
Torta Ahogada is a "drowned submarine sandwich". It is a typical dish from Guadalajara, Mexico. It is called such because the sandwich is partially submerged in a sauce made primarily of dried chili peppers. Our version is a less spicy version of the sandwich, made with a tomato-based consomé.
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Lunch, Mexican, Pork, Sandwich, Torta
Servings 8 Servings




  • 8 lbs. boneless pork butt
  • 8.7 ounces achiote paste
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • ½ white onion quartered
  • vegetable oil as needed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano


  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 guajillo peppers stemmed and seeded
  • 1 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • ½ large white onion quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Pickled white onions:

  • 1 white onion thinly sliced
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt


  • 8 traditional bollios or french sweet or sourbread elongated rolls
  • mayonnaise for serving
  • 4 plum tomatoes thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados halved, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pickled jalapenos thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • crema Mexicana for serving



  • Cut the pork into 8-ounce (3 ½-inch) cubes and reserve.
  • Place the achiote paste, orange and lime juice, salt, garlic, and onion in the bowl of a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Pour over the pork into a large bowl and cover. Refrigerate the pork for at least 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle oil on the bottom of a roasting pan, then place optional banana leaves in it vertically. Repeat this process with 3 banana leaves placed horizontally on top. The banana leaves will be longer than the baking sheet but don’t worry, the remaining leaves will help cover and wrap the pork. If you don't have banana leaves, just coat the bottom with oil or juices from frying the pork and cover. Optionally use a pressure cooker or covered dutch oven. A pressure cooker can cook this in a third of the time used in a conventional method of cooking.
  • Optionally, we like to fry the fatty pieces of pork first and leave them with their released fat for added flavor. This method works well if you don't have banana leaves in all cooking versions.
  • Place the marinated pork and its marinade on top of the banana leaves and sprinkle with oregano. Halve the orange and squeeze the juice over the top, then throw the entire orange in there. Fold the banana leaves on top of the pork to cover and place one more banana leaf on top to ensure the pork is sealed. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil to ensure the banana leaves do not burn. Bake until the pork is pulling apart, about 4 hours. Uncover for the last 15 to 20 minutes for a crispy top. Shred the pork, then keep warm.

Tomato Salsa Consomé:

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Add the peppercorns, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, chipotle, guajillos, and onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Let the ingredients rest for 2 to 4 hours, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the ingredients to the bowl of a blender along with the salt and all of the cooking liquid. Blend until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over the saucepan. Heat the consomé over medium and reduce until desired thickness, about 15 minutes.
  • Pickle the onions: Cover the onions with 1 cup|250 ml boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in the lime juice, vinegar, and salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes.


  • Spread some mayonnaise on the insides of the bread. Heat a large cast-iron over medium and cook until toasted on the inside, about 3 minutes.
  • Spread some more mayonnaise on the inside of the bread and top the bottom piece with a few slices of tomato and avocado, then some lettuce. Add some of the shredded pork, some pickled jalapenos, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Top with the top half of the bread and place in a shallow bowl. Ladle about ⅔ cup of the consomé on top of the torta, drowning it. Drizzle the crema on top and finish with some pickled onions.


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