This sandwich was inspired by the movie "Chef", which Barry and I went to see in 2014. In the movie the chef walks out on his uninspiring job as an executive chef, and eventually ends up in Miami with a food truck specializing in Cubanos, the sandwich in Miami. Well, that got my juices flowing, and I starting looking for an authentic recipe for the pork roast portion, and once I did, Cubanos went on the menu at the cafe. A French roll is spread with butter, then yellow mustard then sliced dill pickle, a thin slice of ham, Swiss cheese, and the pulled pork roast are layered on, then pressed on a plancha (at the cafe or at home, a panini grill) until it's crisp outside and hot and cheesy inside. They were a huge hit, and I still crave one from time to time. I wanted to share this recipe, and though it makes a lot of pork, it can be frozen for future Cubanos. Now, about that food truck................
For the pork roast:
6 pound pork shoulder roast
20 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups sour orange juice (this is hard to find in the Midwest, so I use 3/4 cup orange juice, and 6 Tablespoons each lemon & lime juice)
1 cup finely-minced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups olive oil (not extra-virgin)
Puree the garlic salt, and pepper in a food processor, (or in a mortar and pestle if you have one). Add the oregano, onion and juice and mix thoroughly.
Heat the oil over low heat in a 2-quart saucepan until hot (not deep-fry hot, around 220-degrees.) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Carefully add the garlic mixture to the hot oil and whisk in. Let cool.
Pierce the pork roast as many times as you can all over with a meat fork. Pour all but 3/4 cup (reserve for basting) of the cooled marinade over the pork, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. Place the roast, fat side up, in an open roasting pan. (I insert a meat thermometer with a cable that I can read without opening the door into the pork now and set it for 195-degrees, at which time it beeps.) Place the roasting pan in the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 225-degrees. Spoon some of the reserved marinade over the roast once in a while to keep the top moist. Cook until the internal temperature is 195-degrees, several hours. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes before pulling or shredding the meat.
Make the sandwiches:
(Quantity for each ingredient is per sandwich, you can adjust to suit your taste!)
French roll, split
2-3 ounces shredded pork roast
2 thin slices deli-style ham
2 slices (2 ounces) Swiss cheese, halved to fit the bun
1 Dill pickle spear, cut into 2-3 thin slices
Butter the inside of the roll on both sides. Spread with yellow mustard. Layer on 1/2 the cheese, the pickles, pork roast, ham, and remaining cheese. Close the sandwich and heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until warmed a bit. Butter the outside of the roll and place on a smooth panini grill, close, and grill until heated through and the cheese is melted. (Alternately, grill in a cast-iron skillet with another heavy skillet on top. Brown well, turn, then grill other side until toasted and the cheese is melting.) Let stand for a couple of minutes, then cut in two on the bias and serve.