Guest Author - Allyson Elizabeth D'Angelo
CUBAN HAM AND PORK SANDWICH RECIPE
Do you love ham and cheese sandwiches? Well this is not your ordinary ham and cheese sandwich. It is an explosion of simple ingredients pressed and toasted until the cheese melts and glues everything together.
Over the last few decades the Cubans invaded the Florida kitchens and created a fusion style of cooking which was influenced by the Spaniards, who brought with them their own favorite ingredients, some of which they later imported when they established the first permanent settlement in 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida as well as African and Caribbean ingredients and spices.
This Cuban Ham and Pork Sandwich recipe is traditionally made using a Plancha, which is a sandwich press very similar to a Panini press only without the grooves. However, if you do not own either of these, a couple of skillets (fry pans) will get the same scrumptious results. I have given both instructions in the recipe.
For an authentic Cuban Sandwich Recipe the pork would ideally be slow cooked and smoked. Since most people do not have an outdoor smoker, you can get great results in your own oven with my pork shoulder recipe at the end of this page if you want to go that route, which is virtually hands-off cooking and can be made a day or two ahead. Layer that with ham, pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard and this Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich Recipe is the bomb!
(makes 2 sandwiches)
2 x 12 inch Cuban, Italian or French bread (baguette style)
2 pats of melted butter or a little olive oil
1/3 lb. Deli ham (boiled, black forest, Virginia), sliced thinly
4 slices of Serrano Ham
Great Kosher Dill Deli pickles, sliced thinly
1/3 lb. Swiss cheese (a good tasting one like Jarlsberg, Boars Head Imported
Mustard (whole grain, American, Dijon) whichever you like
PANINI GRILL INSTRUCTIONS
1. Slice bread in half lengthwise. Brush outside of bread with olive oil or melted butter.
Layer the ingredients in this order...
2. Bottom of bread first: mustard, cheese, pickles, hams, pork, hams, pickles, cheese, mustard, and top of bread.
3. Grill sandwich and press slightly as it cooks until it's about a third of its' size. It should be nicely browned and melting with cheese.
Follow the Panini grill method above only have your sandwich built and ready and preheat your skillet on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Place the sandwich In the skillet and place another clean skillet (or one wrapped in foil) on top with a weight in it, like a big can of beans or tomato sauce, pressing down at intervals so the sandwich becomes a third of its original size.
SMOKED PORK SHOULDER RECIPE (OVEN METHOD)
4-5 lb. shoulder roast with bone in and skin attached
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large carrots, chunked
1 large onion, chunked
2 sticks celery chunked
2 tbsp. liquid smoke
1 tbsp. ground cumin
5 cups of water or good chicken stock (chicken stock works best)
Aluminum foil or a tight fitting lid
Preheat oven to 3000F or Gas mark
1. With a sharp utility knife make several deep slits in the underside of the pork (not the skin). The skin just helps keep the meat moist through cooking.
2. In a deep pot or pan large enough to hold the roast place the veggies on the bottom. Then rub the liquid smoke into the meat and then the cumin. Place skin side up on top of the veggies and pour water or broth around the edges of the pan. Cover tightly with foil sealing edges well or use a tight fitting lid. Cook for 3 hours.
3 Carefully remove meat from broth to a bowl and let cool enough to handle. Slide away skin and all fat with 2 forks and discard. Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve or muslin and discard veggies. Set broth aside. Do not discard.
4. Now you can either shred pork with 2 forks pulling away the fat and sinew or let cool and refrigerate then slice the meat. If you shred the pork, drizzle with some of the broth before refrigerating, it will keep it nice and moist if you make it ahead of time.
In a slow cooker follow steps 1 and 2 above and cook for at least 8 hours, then follow steps 3 and 4.
I have many variations for this pork shoulder recipe which will be available as American Regional Cuisine in the future.