Torta Ahogada Recipe


Photo by Farideh Sadeghin 

Serves: 8
Prep time: 1 hour 
Total time: 4 ½ hours  


for the cochinita pibil: 
1 (7-9 pound|3175-4082 gram) boneless pork butt 
8.7 ounces|250 grams achiote paste
2 cups|500 ml fresh orange juice, plus 1 whole orange 
1 cup|250 ml fresh lime juice 
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons|40 grams kosher salt
10 garlic cloves 
½ white onion
vegetable oil, as needed 
6 whole green banana leaves 
1 tablespoon dried oregano  

for the caldo de tomate: 
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 

 for the pickled white onions:
1 white onion, thinly sliced
½ cup|125 ml lime juice 
¼ cup|60 ml white vinegar 
2 tablespoons kosher salt  

for the tortas:
8 traditional pan telera 
mayonnaise, for serving
4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 avocados, halved, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
½ head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced (about 10 ounces|285 grams)
1 cup|140 grams pickled jalapenos, thinly sliced
½ bunch cilantro
crema Mexicana, for serving (in a squeeze bottle to help with drizzling, if you can!)


  1. Cut the pork into 8-ounce|227-gram (3 ½-inch) cubes and reserve. 
  2. 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.  
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle oil on the bottom of a roasting pan, then place two 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Meanwhile, make the caldo de tomate. Bring 4 cups|1 liter 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 consomme over medium and reduce until desired thickness, about 15 minutes. 
  6. 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. 
  7. To serve, 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. 
  8. 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|160 ml of the caldo on top of the torta, drowning it. Drizzle the crema on top and finish with some pickled onions. 

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