(Guajillo-Soaked Crusty Bread Stuffed with Potatoes and Chorizo)
Imagine the most outrageous and gloriously messy sandwich. The very essence of Mexican street food: Crusty rolls are soaked in a guajillo chili sauce and sizzled on a griddle until they're crisp. Then, they are slathered with refried beans, stuffed with a mixture of potato and chorizo, topped with dressed shredded lettuce, and drizzled with Mexican crema and crumbled fresh cheese. Too much? No, never, ever enough.
- 2 pounds red potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and cubed
- 1 pound raw Mexican-style chorizo, Latin-style chorizo, or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed, chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped white onion
- Kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 guajillo chilies, rinsed, stemmed, and seeded
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped white onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1 head romaine lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, dried, and thinly sliced crosswise
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- Kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- Vegetable oil
- 8–10 sturdy buns, such as hard rolls, bolillos, teleras, Portuguese buns, or 3 to 4-inch-long pieces baguette
- 1 cup refried beans, homemade or store bought
- 1 cup Mexican crema, crème fraîche, or sour cream
- 1 cup crumbled queso fresco, Cotija, farmer cheese, or mild feta (about 4 ounces)
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with salted water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When it begins to brown, add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion has softened and the chorizo is cooked through and browned.
- Add the potatoes and roughly crush them with a fork or potato masher until mashed, but still somewhat chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
- Heat a comal or large skillet over medium heat until hot. Lay the chilies flat in the pan and toast them for 10 to 15 seconds per side, until they become fragrant and pliable and their color darkens.
- Transfer the chilies to a medium saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cover with water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the chilies have rehydrated and softened.
- Transfer the chilies, onion, and garlic to a blender, along with ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and the salt; puree until smooth. Strain the sauce through a colander or strainer into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the sugar and toss until well combined.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PAMBAZOS:
- Brush a 12-inch comal, skillet, or griddle liberally with oil and set over medium heat.
- Working in batches, dip each roll or piece of bread into the guajillo sauce, turning until completely covered; don't cut them open.
- Add to the hot pan and fry, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides and hot.
- Remove to individual plates and split each one in half.
- Spread the bottoms with a layer of refried beans, then cover with a generous amount of the potato-chorizo filling.
- Top with the dressed lettuce, a drizzle of cream, and a sprinkle of crumbled cheese, then cover with the other halves of the rolls (or bread).
- Serve with lots of napkins.
MEXICAN COOK'S TRICK:
The traditional pambazo is made with pan basso, a bread that's been made since Mexico was a Spanish colony. It is toothier than the typical Mexican bolillo or telera (the Mexican-style baguette). Pan bassos can be hard to find, but pambazos are just as wonderful when made with any bread that can stand up to being soaked, crisped, and stuffed.
Jamaica Water- "Agua de Jamaica"
Serves 4 to 6 Preparation Time 5 Minutes Can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated (stir before serving). One of Mexico's most famous aguas frescas, this beautiful, ruby-red drink beguiles with its flowery, cranberry-like tartness. It's a wonderfully refreshing foil to any Mexican dish. When I think of Jamaica flowers, I remember my mother when she was exactly my age in Mexico City. She would be busy cooking enormous, elaborate meals on the weekends and would set out a huge blanket in the yard for my sisters and me to play on, along with a big pitcher of agua de Jamaica. While she was indoors, we'd be outdoors with sticks and stones and spoons and pots, mixing those same bright red hibiscus flowers into magical elixirs for fairies and elves. I'm still charmed by Jamaica and as an adult I appreciate it even more, since its packed with Vitamin C. For a grown-up twist, try it Guatemalan-style and add a splash of rum.
Mexican Cook's Trick:
If you'd like an even cooler version of agua de Jamaica, freeze it into ice pops. My kids love them with chunks of mango, and we sometimes toss in chocolate chips and shredded coconut as well.
- 2 cups Jamaica Flower Concentrate (see below)
- 6 cups water
- Ice cubes
- 1 orange, tangerine, or grapefruit, cut into sections for garnish, optional
- In a large pitcher, stir the Jamaica Concentrate together with the water.
- Chill in the refrigerator before serving or serve right away. Either way, pour into glasses filled with the sections of citrus fruit, if desired.
Jamaica Flower Concentrate- "Concentrado de Jamaica"
Makes about 5 cups Preparation Time: 5 Minutes, plus steeping time Cooking Time: 10 Minutes Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month. The most traditional way to use Jamaica flowers is to make a concentrate and use it as the base for an agua fresco. But, don't stop there. You can use it in myriad of other ways: consider it an exotic flavoring for Jell-O or ice pops, reduce it to a syrup to drizzle over cheesecake or brownies, or as a marinade for a modern spin on tacos.
- 8 cups water
- 6 ounces (about 2 cups) Jamaica (hibiscus) flowers
- 1½ cups sugar, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the Jamaica flowers, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the flowers steep for at least 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid into a heatproof jar or container. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate.
These recipes are courtesy of Pati Jinich's cookbook, "Pati's Mexican Table." (Publisher - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company) For more with the chef, visit www.patismexicantable.com and tune in to her PBS cooking show.
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