I feel like I might get in trouble for calling this a Cuban. Because, truth be told I have never really had an authentic Cuban sandwich. But when I was in the middle of a juice cleanse recently (Ak! I still haven’t told you about that- but I will!!!) A friend mentioned Cuban sandwiches. Being in the throws of starvation and sugar withdrawal I started obsessing over Cuban Sandwiches (among other things.)
In the name of research, my sister and I committed to driving to a place called Paseo in Seattle. It is famous for it’s Cuban sandwiches and I have never known it not to have a line around the block. They sell out every single day. They are about 2 miles from the neighborhood I have lived in for 10 years, and I, the sandwich lover, have never been there. I don’t like lines.
So my sister and I committed to being there right on time and that we would battle the crowds to finally try the delectable sandwiches. When we pulled up there was no one there. As we congratulated ourselves on beating the crowds and tried to find parking spot we finally saw the sign: Closed for the month of January. NOOOOO!!!
So I did a little research and made my own. But because I am annoying, I changed around the super classic recipe and made it my own. But mostly that happened because I was busy baking cookies and couldn’t sacrifice oven space for that many hours, so I decided to top the sandwich with braised pulled pork over roasted pork.
However I used the traditional flavors of oregano and vinegar with the pork and it did turn out tender and delicious.
Ok. So then you have to make sure that it seasoned well (As in salty enough.) and you pile it onto a nice crusty soft French roll with salty smoked ham, Swiss cheese, sweet bread and butter pickles and tangy yellow mustard. Weird but good ☺
Cuban Sandwich, serves 1
1 French Roll (I used a soft French Bakery Roll)
1 large slice Swiss Cheese
1 large slice smoked ham
Cuban Style Pulled Pork (see below)
bread and butter pickles
Cuban Style Pulled Pork, (makes enough for about 8 sandwiches)
3lbs pork shoulder
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic
6 Tbs vinegar, peeled
2 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
In a large heavy pot, place the onions and garlic cloves.
Place the pork shoulder on top of the onions.
Pour 3 Tbs of the vinegar over the top of the pork and then sprinkle the pork with the oregano, salt and red pepper flakes.
Fill the pot half way with water, put a lid on it and set the pot over medium heat. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to low.
Simmer the pork for about 1 ½ hours.
Then take the lid off, and flip the pork to cook it evenly. Add the rest of the vinegar and put the lid back on it.
Cook another 60-90 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and pull the pork from the pot.
Remove the strings from the pork (if there were strings) and shred the pork.
Be sure to remove the fat and any connective tissues that still remain. (Although I was shocked at how much my shoulder yielded- there was barely any waste!)
Move the pork to a bowl or storage container. If you are not going to use this right away (or maybe not all of it at once) than ladle a cup or two of the braising liquid over the pork and store the meat in the liquid. But season with a little kosher salt if the meat needs it.
To make the sandwich:
Preheat a sandwich press or grill pan.
Slice the roll horizontally.
Spread yellow mustard over both sides of the bread.
Pile the Swiss cheese onto one side of the bread.
Add the smoked ham.
Add several large spoons full of the pulled pork.
Add bread and butter pickles and top the sandwich.
Grill or cook in a sandwich press until golden and the cheese is melted.
Slice in half and enjoy hot with extra pickles!