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Easy Tortas Ahogadas

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x


Enjoy the flavors of this Mexican specialty sandwich as a weeknight dinner- including the refried beans, carnitas, pickled onions, and sauces, in about 30 minutes.

Equipment needed:

sauce pot



Units Scale
  • 1 (28oz can) of diced or whole tomatoes*
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 12 teaspoons red Hatch Chile Powder
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar*
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 sub rolls (or 2 demi (mini) French baguettes sliced in half *
  • 1 pound fully cooked store-bought pork or beef carnitas (about 2 and a half cups)
  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
  • 3/4 cup refried beans
  • 1 jar of pickled onions
  • 1 jar Hatch red chile sauce
  • optional toppings: diced white onion, fresh avocado, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, pickles, sliced radishes, crema


  1. Set your oven to heat to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, combine the can of tomatoes, 1 cup of water, crushed garlic clove, cumin, coriander, onion powder, red chile powder, vinegar, and oregano. Set the pot over medium heat and bring it to a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Place into a blender and remove the stopper in the center of the blender cover. Place a kitchen towel over the opening and puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour through a strainer if desired. Set aside.
  2. When the oven reaches temperature, place your rolls directly on a wire rack and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is very crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. While the sauce is simmering and the rolls baking, add your carnitas to a separate clean pot and squeeze the juice out of the orange half over the meat. With a sharp knife, cut some large pieces of the orange peel off and add them to the pot with the meat. Set the pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the carnitas are fully reheated. Discard the orange peels, set the carnitas aside, and cover them to keep warm.
  4. Warm the refried beans as desired, either in the microwave or in a small saucepan.


  1. Slice toasted bread to open like a book. Spread the insides with refried beans. Fill sandwiches with carnitas, then top with pickled onions and any optional toppings.
  2. Pour prepared warm tomato sauce over the meat and toppings, then over the top of the bun to fully coat. Garnish with a dollop of Hatch red chile sauce (more or less for desired heat). Serve immediately.


* Rolls: If you manage to find traditional birote rolls, skip toasting them in the oven. They already have a great crunchy crust.

*Tomatoes for the sauce can be either fresh or canned. I used canned for convenience, but if you’d like to make this sauce using fresh tomatoes, simply core 5-6 Roma tomatoes and add them whole to the pot instead of using the 28oz can of tomatoes. Add the water, garlic, and spices, and continue with the recipe as written.

* Vinegar can be white, apple cider, or red wine vinegar.


  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Torta, Mexican Sandwich, Carnitas, Hatch chile, red chile peppers