What I love about Mexican tortas are all the textures. You get slightly crusty bread, smooth and creamy refried beans, hot and spicy meat, and then a layer of fresh vegetables to balance it all out. I usually don't make these at home because my local taqueria makes them so well and so cheaply. But with some leftover chorizo in the fridge and a can of refried beans in the cupboard, I figured a handmade torta couldn't be that hard to construct.
The problem with so many tortas filled with chorizo is that the crumbly meat tends to fall off the sandwich when you pick it up. This recipe, adapted from the New York Times website, solves that dilemma by combining the sausage and the beans before either hits the bread. Said bread is easily found at Mexican grocery stores and costs all of about a quarter. There are a substitutes—Italian bread is passable—but don't use any bread with a hard crust.
This is just one version of a torta, though I'm very impressed by it. Usually the bread is pressed, rather like a panini, but this recipe just crisps the bread up in the oven for a few minutes. For the veggies, I used an avocado and tomato, but some sliced jalapeño would add some more heat.
Crusty Torta with Black Beans and Chorizo
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- 4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
- 1 fifteen-ounce can refried black beans
- 2 large Mexican rolls
- 3 ounces queso fresco, mild feta, or other crumbly white cheese
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced thinly
- Hot sauce
- Canola oil
Toss the chorizo into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the fat has rendered, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until it is crumbly.
Dump in the whole can of refried beans into the skillet. Stir until combined and cook for 10 minutes at a simmer. Add a little water if it becomes too dry. Season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the rolls in half and scrape out some of the soft insides. Brush the carved out inside with a little oil. Set in the oven for about 3 minutes.