Pambazos (Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches)

These salsa-dunked and griddled sandwiches, an iconic Mexico City street food, are named for the pambazos—soft, oval rolls—they’re typically made with. Telera and kaiser rolls make fine substitutes.

Pambazos (Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches) Pambazos (Salsa-Dipped Potato and Chorizo Sandwiches)
These salsa-dunked and griddled sandwiches, an iconic Mexico City street food, are named for the pambazos — soft, oval rolls — they're typically made with. Telera and kaiser rolls make fine substitutes.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 15 dried guajillo chiles (available at marxfoods.com)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 12 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 14 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 12 cup canola oil
  • 1 14 lb. fresh chorizo, casings removed
  • 6 soft pambazos, teleras (see Mexico’s Daily Breads), or kaiser rolls, split
  • 3 shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 cups grated queso Oaxaca (available at mexgrocer.com) or mozzarella
  • 34 cup crema (available at mexgrocer.com) or sour cream

Instructions

  1. Heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer all chiles to a large bowl; pour over 4 cups boiling water, and let sit until chiles are soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 14 cups soaking liquid, and remove stems and seeds from chiles. Transfer chiles and reserved soaking liquid to a blender along with garlic and onion; purée until very smooth, at least 2 minutes. Pour sauce into a bowl; set aside.
  2. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat; add potatoes, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat; add chorizo, and cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes, and cook until potatoes are very tender, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Using your fingers, scoop out and discard the insides of rolls, leaving a 12“-thick shell. Place about 1 cup potato-chorizo mixture on roll bottoms, and cover with tops; press sandwiches lightly to flatten and compact filling. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Submerge two sandwiches in chile sauce until thoroughly soaked, at least 10 seconds; place in skillet, and cook, pressing constantly with a metal spatula to flatten and flipping once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; repeat with remaining oil, sandwiches, and sauce. Open sandwiches and divide lettuce, cheese, and crema among sandwiches; close sandwiches again and serve warm.
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Illustration: Sam Wiley

A Tip For Toasting Dried Chiles “To activate the flavors of dried chiles, toast them before adding them to a sauce, as in the recipe for pambazos. Cook them on a dry comal or skillet over medium-high heat until they become fragrant and deepen slightly in color. There’s a fine line between toasting and burning, and some chiles cook faster than others. Use your senses to judge timing: The aroma should be round, deep, and intense, not sharp and charred.” —Iliana de la Vega, chef-owner of El Naranjo in Austin, Texas, and chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio