Pambazos

Pambazo #1

When I lived in Mexico, I longed for certain foods from home. Don’t get me wrong…I was crazy for gorditas, quesadillas, tortas, and tacos, but I missed things like broccoli cheese soup and lasagna. The problem was not that I didn’t know how to make these things, but rather I could not find the simple but necessary ingredients like cheddar cheese or good ricotta. I tried to make variations of these classics, and they came out okay, but they never really tasted quite like they do at home. (Btw…for those living in Mexico City, I eventually found cheddar cheese at the Sam’s Club near metro Zapata.)

Guajillo Chile Sauce

So, now that I’m back in the U.S., the opposite happens. I get these insatiable cravings for certain Mexican foods. I’ve had tlacoyo yearnings, and I’ve dreamed about quesadillas filled with requesón and tender strips of chile poblano. But, often times I can’t cure these unfortunate longings because I simply do not have access to the right ingredients.  For example, a tlacoyo just really isn’t the same unless it’s made with real, fresh masa, particularly the blue kind. The powdered Maseca stuff just doesn’t do it for me. Do you know what I’m saying?

Guajillo Soaked Bolillos

So, the other day disaster struck in the form of this ferocious hunger for a pambazo. I was practically drooling thinking about my favorite pambazo in all of Mexico City-the one made at the ever popular but totally underrated Antojitos Dany near metro Juárez (corner of Calle Balderas and Avenida Independencia). All I could think about was that soft bolillo soaked in the guajillo chile sauce, filled with tender potatoes, chorizo, lettuce, queso, and crema. I was honestly having “visions of pambazos dancing in my head” for days. I knew that I somehow had to recreate a pambazo here. So, I began my recipe search. I found out how to make bolillos. Then, I found a recipe for the guajillo chile sauce. Then, I was saved by the one and only local Mexican supermarket that had chorizo, crema, and queso fresco. The challenge was on. When I finally sat down to eat the finished product, I can honestly say I was satisfied. My pambazo had flavor. It had character, and I while it wasn’t exactly the pambazo that I remember from Antojitos Dany, I think it was it’s very close little brother.

Pambazo #2

I will always enjoy heading to that tiny corner of Mexico City called Antojitos Dany to enjoy an insanely delicious pambazo, but when I can’t this is a pretty darn close approximation that I can make here in Gringolandia.

Pambazos

Click here for printable recipe

Guajillo Chile-Soaked Sandwiches (Makes 10 sandwiches)

10 Bolillos (I made my own bolillos, but I wasn’t head over heels for the recipe. I’m going to work on it, but for the time being you could use one of two substitutes: 1) Any flat-shaped bread that you might find at a local Mexican panadería 2) Sausage rolls/buns from any local supermarket…in addition to my homemade bolillos, I also tried some sausage rolls to see how they would turn out…not too bad.

1 recipe of Salsa de Chile Guajillo (just click to see the recipe), warmed so that it is somewhat liquidy.

→Cut each of the bolillos in half. Using a pastry brush, brush the top and bottom of each bolillo being sure to coat it well.

→Heat a square griddle over medium heat. Pour about 1 TBSP of canola oil on the griddle and spread it around using a spatula. I use canola oil so that the guajillo-soaked bread does not stick to the griddle. Place the bolillos that have been brushed with the salsa on the griddle, with the white part facing up. You are trying to sear in the sauce so that the buns don’t become soggy. Once the saucey side is crispy and only slightly charred, flip the bolillo to toast the inside. Then, remove them from the heat and continue to assemble and toast the remaining bolillos.

→You can make the bolillos several hours in advance and leave them sit at room temperature. However, I think they are best when assembled 1-2 hours before eating.

Fillings

2 1/2 – 3 lbs. white or golden potatoes (about 5-6 large potatoes)

1 – 1 1/2 lbs. Mexican chorizo/sausage

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 cup queso fresco, crumbled

Mexican crema

→Place the unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil a cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. You can test the potatoes by poking them with a fork to see if they are soft. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the water to cool.

→When the potatoes are cool, peel the skin off using a knife. Then cut the potatoes into ½” cubes, and put in a bowl until ready to use.

→Place the chorizo in a skillet. (I removed the casing from mine because it was easier to cook that way). Break the chorizo into small pieces and cook completely. Set aside until ready to use.

→About 10 minutes before you are getting ready to fill the pambazos, heat 2 TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP of onions in a skillet. Add the chopped, pre-cooked potatoes and mix them around until they are slightly golden but still soft. Be sure to salt the potatoes to bring out the flavor.

→At the same time, warm the chorizo in a skillet and also warm the prepared bolillos on a griddle.

→Assemble the pambazos by putting potatoes on the bottom half of the bolillo, then chorizo, queso, crema, and finally lettuce. Top with the other half of the bolillo.

NOTES:

  • I made the guajillo chile sauce several days in advance. It keeps well in the refrigerator and you can even freeze it. I had about ½ cup leftover that I froze to use in the future.
  • A lot of recipes tell you to dip the bread in the guajillo sauce. However, I found that it was easier to brush it on with a pastry. The bread held up better. But, if you do this, please be liberal with the amount of guajillo sauce you use.
  • You can adjust the amounts of potatoes and chorizo as needed. This is a starting point and the amounts that I provided are an approximate idea of what I used to make 10 pambazos.
  • There are many variations of pambazos. If you can’t find chorizo, you could make them with just potato. So people use only cheese, as well. You could also add onions or a red or green salsa. The variations are totally up to you.

Recipe Source: Nicole’s Memories of Pambazos from Antojitos Dany 🙂

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