I can’t help but pronounce “Pambazos” with a very exaggerated, stereotypical Italian-American accent. Pam-BAAAH-zos! Even though I know that Pambazos are not Italian. Even though I know that they’re named after “pan basso”. Still, it’s pam-BAAAH-zos every time.
But what is a Pambazo? It’s a guajillo salsa-dunked sandwich that’s traditionally filled with spicy chorizo and potatoes. In other words, it’s a Mexican sandwich that is right up my alley.
The salsa– a guajillo pepper sauce– is made from scratch, but it’s really quite simple. Dried chiles, diced onions, garlic, a bit of salt, and water is all it takes to make a delicious, vibrant sauce to bathe the bread in.
The potato and chorizo filling is a popular one in Mexico, and you’ll find in everything from tacos to breakfast bakes. The potatoes soak up a lot of the spicy chorizo sausage flavor as they crisp up, which is great because chorizo is one of the most delicious things ever created. Or at least I think so. (For further proof, see here, or here, or here, or here… and so on.)
But while the potato-chorizo filling is delicious, the refried beans are creamy, the lettuce is fresh and crisp, the cheese is salty, and the sour cream is cooling, the real star of the show is not the filling. It’s the bread.
Typically, Pambazos use pan basso, a tough and chewy white bread that keeps its shape and texture after it’s soaked in the sauce. Pan basso can be difficult to find the further away from Mexico you go, but other sturdy rolls such as Portuguese rolls can be substituted.
After the rolls are dunked, they’re griddled or fried in a bit of oil until crisp, and then stuffed with a generous amount of the fillings. James and I like to wash ours down with a few cold cervezas.
Make these Mexican sandwiches and share a photo for them on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #hostthetoast!Print
Pambazos (Mexican Salsa-Dunked Sandwiches)
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- 2 lbs mini potatoes, skins on, boiled until fork tender and quartered
- 1 lb raw Mexican chorizo, removed from casings
- 1 large white onion, diced, divided
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 12 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup refried beans, warmed
- 2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2 oz queso fresco, crumbled
- 6 sturdy rolls (pan basso, teleres, or Portuguese rolls)
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- In a large, high-walled skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles until fragrant, about 15 seconds on each side. Add in 1/2 of the onion and the garlic and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the chiles are rehydrated.
- Strain out the chiles, onions, and garlic over a bowl, reserving the liquid. In a blender, combine the strained solids, a cup of the reserved liquid, and about 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt. Blend until smooth.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the chorizo and cook through, breaking apart with a wooden spoon as you cook, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 of the onion and cook until softened.
- Add in the boiled potatoes and press them with the back of a wooden spoon to crush slightly. Season to taste with Kosher salt.
- Oil a skillet over medium-high heat. Dip the rolls in the sauce and turn to coat well. Add two at a time to the hot skillet. Fry, pressing down gently, until browned on both sides. Remove from heat, set aside, and continue until all of the rolls have been fried.
- Cut the rolls open. Top with refried beans, the potato and chorizo mixture, lettuce, queso fresco, and sour cream.
If you can’t find queso fresco, other Mexican cheeses such as Oaxaca cheese work well, too!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says
Gosh this looks good. Why am I learning about their existence only now? Where have I been?
Rebecca @ Bring Back Delicious says
Well, doesn’t that look delicious? I’m surprised I haven’t seen them around though. I have been known to frequent many a Mexican restaurant and taco truck around town. 😉 At least we have good ol tortas!
Maggie Unzueta says
My mouth is watering.
I love pambazos – I have early memories of my dad smoking the kitchen frying up the salsa .. traditionally we ( Mexicans ) heat up oil and sauté the salsa to bring out the flavors.
I love love love the plates! What brand are they and where can I get them.
Great recipe by the way.
Love your writing. I find it very inspiring even for me that i am a Professional Chef with many years of experience! What do you think about this… are Pambazos Veracruzanos much different from the ordinary ones found everywhere in Mexico?
Interested to know your answer.. in the meantime… keep the good writing going!