I really was planning to bring you Mr. N’s state fair recipe today. It’s been made, photographed and eaten. It’s been patiently waiting in the wings…and it’s going to have to keep waiting. You see tonight we made our first Cuban recipe and well, it just can’t wait. Or, maybe, I just couldn’t wait.
I have to confess I was rooting for Cuba all along. I’ve wanted a Cuban sandwich for years. Why I haven’t had one yet, I don’t really know. But since you all voted for Cuba, I now have no more excuses. So we’ll postpone our state fair dessert for one more post while we share what is probably our most anticipated recipe yet (by Mike and I anyway), The Cuban.
In preparation for the recipe, I did a lot of reading and discovered one thing is essential for a good Cuban – roasted pork. So that’s exactly where we started. We picked up a giant pork shoulder (it was from Costco) and tossed a four pound section into a large mixing bowl. The other three sections went into the freezer. (I think I see quite a bit of pork shoulder in our future this fall and winter.) We also added our seasonings which included bitter orange, boat loads of garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.
After the pork marinated overnight we placed it in a roasting pan and slow roasted it at 325F until it reached an internal temperature of 150F. We then let it rest and cool down, before tossing it in the fridge for dinner later that day.
And dinner couldn’t get here soon enough I tell you. I seriously don’t think I’ve been this excited for a recipe in the history of this blog. Fortunately you don’t have to wait all day like I did, so let’s get rolling. If you have access to Cuban bread that’s a great place to start. Unfortunately we don’t, but we found some good sandwich rolls that made a nice substitute. They were crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
We layered two slices of ham, two slices of thinly cut roast pork, 1-1/2 slices of Swiss cheese and two pickle slices on each roll. We then buttered the outside of the sandwich – top and bottom and tossed them on the grill pan. Traditional Cuban sandwiches are made in a press and will not have grill lines. Since we’re without a Cuban sandwich press we used our roasting pan to press down on the sandwiches.
Now even though I was highly anticipating this sandwich, I was a little nervous about pickles and yellow mustard. I’m not usually a big pickle fan and I never eat yellow mustard unless it’s mixed with ketchup or mayo. Fortunately the sandwich lived up to its hype and was well worth the wait – pickles and yellow mustard included. The ingredients of this sandwich just work – from the tangy pickle, to the juicy pork.
As for our dissenter, Miss A gave it a 3 spoon vote. She liked it, but in pieces. A bit of ham here, a little pork there, some bread and then a bit of cheese. All separate from one another of course. In all fairness, this was an extremely filling sandwich and far more than she could possibly eat.
She did, however, give the sweet potato fries an 18 spoon vote before doing a back walkover off her kitchen chair. I swear this child can turn anything into a gymnastics apparatus. Mr. N and I also gave the fries 4 spoons. Thanks Greg and Katherine for the delicious recipe. Mr. N even said that he thought this meal could be served in a restaurant!
There you have it. Our first Cuban recipe and it was a good one. If you’ve never had a Cuban, I highly recommend giving it a shot. You won’t be disappointed. This is one of those sandwiches that you’ll end up craving from time to time. (Okay, probably more often than that, but there is that tiny issue of healthy eating.)
Now, as for that poor little state fair dessert waiting in the wings, we’ll get to sharing that over the weekend. (It just doesn’t come close to touching the Cuban in my opinion though.) After that, we’ll have the special recipe Mike whipped up for my birthday this past weekend before returning with another Cuban recipe.
You may notice it’s going to be a little quiet around here for a few weeks, but we have good reason and we’ll bring those pics around soon too. Until then, I’ll leave you with the birthday cake my dad made for me last year and that I’ll be enjoying Wednesday evening. Yum! (Yes, we’re eating in good, celebratory style this week!) Cheers everyone!