Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cuban Sandwich

1 pound boneless pork shoulder
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed with the side of knife
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 lime, juiced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 long Cuban bread roll
3 T Dijon mustard, or Grey Poupon
8 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 cup bread and butter pickles
8 thin slices deli ham
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Preparing the pork:
This can be done in a regular Dutch oven, but for convenience and time use a pressure cooker as follows:

Tie the pork shoulder in 4 places with kitchen twine to hold its shape while being cooked. Season the pork with salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. Set the base of a pressure cooker over low-medium heat and add a 2 count of olive oil.

Add garlic and chili flakes and as the oil heats up it will become fragrant and infuse the oil. Add the pork. Add onions around the pork and brown slightly before adding orange juice, lime juice, stock and bay leaves.

Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of your pressure cooker. The pork should be tender when done. When done allow to cool in juices before removing twine and slicing.

* * * * * *

Preparing the sandwiches:
Split bread in half then layer the sandwich with mustard, cheese, pickles, ham, pork then cheese again (the cheese glues everything together). Season with salt and pepper in between the ham and pork layers.

Optional: Drizzle a little of the pork braising liquid over the meat.

Heat a large cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. Place the sandwiches on the skillet and top with another heavy skillet and a couple of heavy weights (bricks, or cans of tomatoes work well). Press down firmly and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side until the sandwich has compressed to about a third of its original size and the bread is super-crispy.

Serves 4 to 6

Variation: Preheat oven to 325 degree F. Slather Grey Poupon mustard on the inside of the bottom half of the bread; butter the inside of the top half. Add the pork on the bottom, then a slice of Swiss cheese, then a slice of ham, then a slice of Genoa salami, slices overlapping then folded a bit so they fit inside the bread. Add another slice of cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Add long slices of pickles at an angle so that they cover the surface of the sandwich. Place the top half of the bread over and cut diagonally into serving size sandwiches. Wrap each in aluminium foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake until they are warmed all the way through. Open up the foil for another minute or two to crisp up the bread, if desired.


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