Cuban Sandwiches

My son loves pork and he loves sandwiches and somewhere between food truck visits and repeated viewings of the movie Chef, the brilliant creation of the Cuban sandwich, or Cubano, came into our lives. We don’t always take the time to make a Cubano “right.” Sometimes we’ll turn ham roast leftovers into a sandwich with mustard and pickles. But when we do transform our local pig into this amazing delicacy, it is a meal to savor.

We began with a recipe found on the Chef soundtrack liner notes and amended from there.

Makes 10-12 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. orange zest (or minced orange peel)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lime zest (or minced lime peel)
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 6 pound pork shoulder or bone-in ham roast
  • 16 ounces Swiss cheese or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 10-12 9″ baguettes
  • 12 ounce jar of bread and butter sliced pickles
  • yellow mustard

Instructions

  1. Prepare pork marinade by mixing together oil, herbs, fruit juices, zest, garlic and spices in small bowl.
  2. Place pork in deep baking dish. Pour marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove pork from fridge. Baste the meat with the marinade. Place pork in the oven, uncovered. Cook for about 2 hours or 20 minutes per pound, continuing to baste throughout the roasting. Remove when pork reaches an internal temperature of 170 F. (Meat should still be pink on the inside.) Let rest until cool enough to handle.
  4. Thinly slice meat. Slice cheese. Split baguettes in half.
  5. Place baguette halves atop a baking sheet and butter insides of the bread. Place bread into oven set to broil, low. Watch carefully. Baguettes should turn golden brown in 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven.
  6. Assemble sandwiches by placing on one bun: pork, cheese, then pickles. On facing bun, slather mustard. Press two sides of sandwich together. Generously butter outside of sandwich and grill in cast iron or frying pan, pressing the sandwich flat with a metal spatula. Serve warm.

Published by christinanifong

A writer of stories. About kale and turnips. Seeds and dirt. And, you know, life. Find essays, recipes and writing samples at christinanifong.com