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Friday, May 3, 2013

Tortas (Black Bean and Chorizo Subs)

This quickly became a frequent meal when we first discovered the recipe. To me it is messy enough to be considered a Mexican Sloppy Joe, but I think it tastes much better. 


Tortas (Black Bean and Chorizo Subs)

Source: Rick Bayless in Mexican Everyday
Serves 5-6

8 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (casings removed, if in links)
3-4 T olive oil, divided
2 15-oz cans black beans (you can substitute other beans, such as pinto)
4-6 bolillo rolls or submarine rolls (6-7 inches long, 3 inches wide)
About 6 ounces Mexican queso fresco cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced 1/4 inch thick
salsa or hot sauce, to taste
cilantro, optional

Break the chorizo into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, breaking up the clumps, until browned and thoroughly cooked. Add 1-2 T oil, depending on how much fat the chorizo has rendered. Add the beans and the liquid. Bring to a simmer and mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Cook, stirring often, until it is the consistency of very soft mashed potatoes, leaving a few beans whole, 10 or more minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Keep warm over the lowest heat, covered to keep the beans moist.

Heat a griddle over medium flame. Slice the rolls open and scrape out some of the soft bread in the center of each half, making a small hollow. Pour the remainder of the olive oil on to the griddle and when hot, place the rolls cut side down on the griddle, dipping each piece in some olive oil. (You may also brush the rolls with olive oil before placing on the griddle.) Cook until crisp and golden brown. You will probably have to do this in batches unless your griddle is large.

Smear about 1/3-1/2 c of the chorizo-bean mixture over the bottom half of a roll. Top with slices of the cheese and the avocado. Spoon on the salsa or sprinkle with a dash of hot sauce. Top the cilantro, if you have it, and then the rolls and serve.

Notes from Colette:

Chorizo has fortunately become easier to find in the last few years. Some American companies (such as Johnsonville) now make Chorizo sausage but my favorite is the kind you can buy in a Mexican market. Sometimes it comes in links and sometimes it is ground. There are some small "chubs" you can find sometimes but they are quite greasy and not only will you not have to add oil, you'll probably have to get rid of some.

If the bolillos are very soft, there is no need to scrape out the center since the bread will smash down. 

Bayless suggests substituting (if necessary) feta or goat cheese for the queso fresco. They are not my favorite but Bayless, apparently, really likes goat cheese on a torta. I think you can use Monterrey Jack or even Manchego if you can't find queso fresco. You should be able to find it, though, since most supermarkets carry it nowadays.

Bayless points out that this recipe can be altered in numerous tasty ways such as adding rotisserie chicken or roast pork or beef. He also suggests toppings such as grilled onion or pickled jalapenos or chipotle en adobo.

The bean mixture stores well in the fridge and even better in the freezer. It may need a little additional water when warming it up.

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