Albondigas al Chipotle & Tortas Gemma

The first Twosday (and recipe) of 2010 is all about Chile Chipotle.  Chipotle peppers are actually smoked-dried jalapeño peppers.  My favorites are the canned Chipotles in Adobo Sauce.  The smoky flavor of the chilies and the spice of the adobo are a perfect combination.

One of my favorite ways to use Chipotle is in a sauce.  The sauce is made with tomatoes, dried ancho chilies and chipotles.  I first fell in love with this sauce when I had my first Torta Gemma.  The sauce was so good, I had to find other ways to use it in my recipes.  Thus, my Albondigas al Chipotle (Chipotle Meatballs) were born.

Albondigas en Salsa de Chipotle -

Albondigas al Chipotle

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, plain
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 roma tomatoes
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo 

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the ground pork, ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, onion and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix ingredients until well combined.  

 Shape meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.  Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to use.

Place the tomatoes and dried ancho chilies in a medium saucepan or pot.  Fill saucepan with enough water to cover the tomatoes.  Bring to boil, over high heat.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies.  Place cooked chilies in a blender cup with the chipotles.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked tomatoes to the blender cup.  Puree the chilies and tomatoes until smooth.

Pour puree mixture into a 2 quart saucepan.  Add 1-1/2 cups of the liquid in which the tomatoes were cooked.  Season with salt and mix well.

Brink sauce to a boil over medium heat.  Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce.  Cover and let simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.  Serve over cooked spaghetti or Sopa de Arroz Blanco (white rice). Enjoy!

Mexican Meatballs in tomato-chipotle sauce (Albondigas al Chipotle) -

For a Torta de Albondigas al Chipotle (Chipotle Meatball Sandwich) serve meatballs and sauce over a toasted bolillo roll.  Top with your favorite cheese (I like queso fresco and/or Oaxaca cheese.) and broil in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.  Top with fresh chopped cilantro.  Enjoy!

Chipotle Meatball Sandwich -

*The meatballs can be prepared with ground chicken or turkey.


Tortas Gemma: 

Guadalajara, Jalisco's state capital, is famous for its Tortas Ahogadas (drowned sandwiches).  It's a sandwich made with refried beans and Carnitas, served on a bolillo roll, and drowned in a sauce made with tomatoes and chile de arbol.

But the Torta Ahogada isn't the only kind of drowned sandwich available in Jalisco.  Let me introduce you to my favorite..La Torta Gemma.

Tortas Gema, are prepared with Mexican crema, shredded pork, lettuce, tomato and onion on a bolillo roll, smothered in a tomato, ancho chile and chipotle sauce. 

Torta Gemma recipe -

Torta Gema (Shredded Pork Sandwich)

  • 2 lbs. pork stew meat 
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh cilantro 
  • 12 roma tomatoes
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 chipotle peppers
  • 6 bolillo rolls
  • Mexican Crema or Sour Cream
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced onion

Cut the pork shoulder roast into 1-inch slices.  Place it in a 2-quart saucepan with the onion, garlic, and cilantro.  Season with salt.  Fill the saucepan with just enough water to cover the pork meat.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Cover and reduce heat to medium, and let simmer until the meat is very tender. (About 60 to 90 minutes.)  Let meat cool slightly, then shred.

While the meat is cooking, place the 12 tomatoes and dried ancho chilies in a medium saucepan.  Fill saucepan with enough water to cover tomatoes.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Let cool slightly.  Remove stems and seeds from cooked chilies.  Place the cooked chilies and tomatoes in a blender cup with the chipotles; puree until smooth.  Pour tomato puree into a medium saucepan with 1-1/2 cups of the liquid in which the tomatoes were cooked.  Season with salt.  Bring sauce to boil over medium heat.

To assemble the tortas, cut the bolillo rolls in half lengthwise.  Spread Mexican Crema on cut sides of bolillo.  Top one half of the bolillo roll with shredded pork, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and onion. Cover with the other half of bolillo.  Ladle sauce over your torta. and voilá have a delicious Torta Gema!  Enjoy!!!

Mexican Shredded Pork Sandwich with Tomato-Chipotle Sauce -



  1. I have a cookbook by Zarela Martinez (who is from Sonora, I believe) and she had a recipe for Torta Ahogada that was exactly like yours! I made it and it was so delicious. Yum. Keep up the fabulous recipes, Leslie! The pictures are so beautiful and mouth-watering. :)

  2. Thank You for posting Recipes Leslie!! I made the Torta Gema yesterday and everyone enjoyed It.. I posted a picture on my FaceBook and got lots of compliments. I gave them your link too..Keep up the good work. I love to Cook maybe we can share recipes =)

  3.  hola como estas mi nombre  danielle yo tambien soy casada con un mexicano y me canta hacer la comida pero mirando  tus recietas tambien me ayudo un poco y unas cosas que no sabe como cocina gracias.....tu familia tiena que ser feliz tanto cosas rica que cocinas..... que pasa buen dia y dios de bendiga gracias de nuevo.....

  4. Hi Leslie! When you put the chiles chipotles, do you put the whole chipotles from the can or remove the seeds? Thanks! - Ashley

  5. Hi Ashley! I use the whole chipotles with the seeds. If you're worried about the sauce being too spicy, you can try just adding a tablespoon or two of the adobo sauce.

  6. Hi Leslie, love your site. When you say chipotle peppers are they the ones in the can with adobo sauce or the actual pepper? Also, are chiles anchos same as chile pasilla? Thanks so much.. keep up the great work. ..

  7. Sorry one last thing. What is pork shoulder roast in spanish? ?