Tostada Compuestas

 As a little girl growing up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Christmas Eve always meant Tostada Compuestas.  It's a signature dish from La Posta in Old Mesilla. 


For the tortilla cups: 

  • Corn tortillas 
  • Oil (like peanut or canola, something with a high smoke point) 
For the meat: 
  • Pork loin 
  • Spice Mix: 

    • Oregano
    • Chile powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Salt 
For the sauce: 
  • Red enchilada sauce (Macayo is my favorite brand, Bueno has one in plastic tubs that is frozen) 
  • Pork drippings (from the roast) 
  • Flour
  • Butter, if needed 
  • Beef broth 
  • Garnishes: 
    • Shredded lettuce 
    • Shredded cheese or cotija cheese 
    • Dice tomatoes 
    • New Mexico Salsa 
    • Salsa Verde 
    • Creamy Cilantro Dressing 
    • Fish Taco Sauce 

Making tostada compuestas is a two-day process for me, but you can do it in one day if want to.  The first day, I roast the pork.  

I rub the pork with the spice mix and roast it dry.  I like to roast it slow and low so that it is tender. Many recipes will tell you to brown the meat first to get a crispy crust, I don't do that because I don't want crispy meat for this dish.  I just roast it uncovered in a roasting pan at 275 degrees F until the internal temp is 145 degrees F.  This usually takes a few hours.  I don't like the temp too hot because I want lots of drippings.  I might add water in the bottom of the pan to keep it from burning. 

After the pork has rested for at least 10 minutes, cube the meat into bite sized pieces. 

Separate the fat from the drippings.  

Make a roux with some of the fat and flour. Use butter if you need more fat.  You'll want equal amounts of flour and fat, about 2 Tbs. each.  Add the drippings and broth to make a gravy.  

This is what it looks like after the broth has been added.

Then add the red enchilada sauce to the gravy.  Add hot chile sauce or powder if you want it spicier.  You can also add more garlic and oregano if you want to.  

Now you have your meat and your sauce for the dish.  

The next day I cook the tortilla cups.  You can find lots of techniques to do this, many include baking them on an upside down muffin tin to form the cup shape.  I like to do it the same way my mom did it--with tongs and a rolling pin.  

Get a pot of oil really hot at least 350 degrees F, but not so hot that it instantly burns.  The test my mom used to do was stick the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, if it bubbled, it was ready.  

Lay the tortilla on top of the oil.  Using the end of a wooden rolling pin (or you can use a whisk if you can stand the heat) push the tortilla down into the oil.  It will curl up around the rolling pin.  Use the tongs to pinch the edges together.  Try to get at least three pinches around the tortilla.  My siblings and I like to have contests to see how many pinches we can get.  I think the winner got seven.  Three is fine though.  

Let it cook for a few seconds in this shape and then drain on a paper towel upside down.  Keep cooking until you have enough cups so that each person can have two or three.  

Now you are ready to assemble the tostada compuestas.  Grab a tortilla cup and fill the bottom with pork and spoon some enchilada gravy into it.  Top with whatever garnishes you prefer.  

It should be really messy to eat, especailly if you eat it with your hands.  If you are like me and don't like a messy eating experience, you can just use a fork to eat the insides first and then eat the soggy tortilla.  It's actually really good that way, but way more fun to eat it like a taco and get the sauce dripping down onto the plate.