Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cuban-Style Pork Sandwiches

I call these sandwiches Cuban-style, because I don't imagine they're very authentic. When I did a web search on "Cuban Pork Sandwich", I found lots of recipes, but has hard pressed to find any two that were identical. There seems to be a lot of room for variation; I borrowed ideas from several recipes and came up with my own. Authentic or not, I think it turned out to be a great sandwich.

(We are having these two nights this week. I plan on assembling four sandwiches each night, but I've written the recipe to assemble all eight sandwiches at the same time.)

Cuban-Style Pork Sandwiches


1 pork loin roast, about 2 lbs.
2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

Sprinkle bottom of a 2.5 qt. slow cooker with 1 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place pork loin roast on top of seasonings and sprinkle with remaining garlic, cumin and salt. Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours. Let cool slightly before slicing very thinly (an electric knife works beautifully). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


1 red onion, diced small
1 cup water
1 jar (7.25 oz.) roasted sweet red pepper, drained and chopped
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Boil onion in water for 1 minute. Drain, reserving liquid for bread (recipe to follow). In a small bowl, combine onion with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Let sit at least one hour at room temperature before using. Relish may be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to a week.


Use store-bought sourdough bread or rolls, or use the following recipe:

Reserved onion water from relish (above) plus enough water to make 2 cups, heated to 110°F.
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 cups all-purpose flour
Additional flour as needed

In bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer, combine water, yeast and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes to proof.

Add 5 cups of flour all at once and, using bread dough attachment, mix dough until well-combined, then knead on high speed for 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the strength of your mixer. Dough should be smooth and elastic; add additional flour, a few spoonfuls at a time, as needed.

Turn dough out into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour or until doubled. Divide dough and shape into 8 large oval rolls similar to hoagie rolls. Make decorative slice down length of rolls if desired. Place rolls on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with soft cloth and let rise again, about 30 minutes or until doubled. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F.

Once rolls have doubled, bake at 375° for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Additional ingredients:

8 slices of Swiss cheese (I used provolone for Shane and Kat, since they dislike Swiss)
8 slices deli-sliced ham
yellow mustard, brown mustard and or mayonnaise as desired
small amount of olive oil

To assemble sandwiches:

Split rolls in half lengthwise and horizontally (similar to a burger bun). Spread each cut side with desired condiments. On one half, place 1 slice of cheese and 1 to 2 Tablespoons relish. Top with deli-sliced ham, thinly sliced pork and other half of bun.

Grill on lightly oiled pan or griddle as you would a grilled cheese, making sure to press the sandwich together firmly (or use a bacon press if you have one) so that sandwich ingredients melt together.

Cut sandwich in half diagonally and serve with pickles and chips or fries.

Makes 8 sandwiches.


A Little Thing To Save Money: I checked the "discontinued" basket at the grocery store. I found an 5 oz. bottle of Delsym cough syrup for $5.50, which was less than half the regular price. Delsym has worked far better for us than any other cough syrup, and the expiration date was more than a year away, so I bought it.

A Little Thing To Simplify Our Lives: Because I hate to iron, I recently got rid of almost every article of clothing we owned that required ironing. They no longer take up space, and I no longer feel guilty about us not wearing them because I wouldn't take time to iron them.

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