Watching the movie Chef reminded me of how much our daughter loves Cuban sandwiches. It also brought me back to her seventh birthday party. My kids were the first kids I met in a relationship, a whole new ball game.
They always say that you should wait to meet the kids but we didn’t. My husband and I knew right away we had something and I met the kids pretty quickly as a friend. Though we have very bright kids, they knew I wasn’t fly by night even though our son was 3 1/2 and our daughter was just shy of her 7th birthday. Aside from the fact that I didn’t want things screwed up because I recognised I found the one, I really didn’t want the kids to get screwed up if the adults went south. Obviously it didn’t play out that way. :)
I was very lucky I met them at that age, I still got to do story time at bedtime, fort building with pillows, and the kids birthday parties. The first birthday party was about 6 weeks into the relationship so I was nervous. Do I get her something, what do I get her, small gift, big gift? I found her a craft sewing kit that allowed her to make dolls clothes. She loved it. :) Plus we weren’t at the drop off phase of birthday parties so there was going to be a boatload of people to meet. I had met a few people in my husband’s circle but with parents and kids we probably had about 30 people in the house.
When I got to the party I asked what I could do for help and I was tasked with making the Cuban sandwiches. Great, never made them before and these were my daughter’s favourite. No pressure! I managed it and we all had fun with the party, along with many more. We did have some trip ups with birthday parties. We made the mistake having 8 girls sleepover for our daughter’s 8th birthday. Don’t ever do that. Ever. Luckily our windows didn’t crack with the continuous high pitched screeches.
For old times sake I wanted to make the sandwiches for the kids before they went off to overnight camp. Had to get good food into them! Normally we buy roast pork along with the other ingredients but I wanted to make it special. I used this roast pork recipe as the base with slight adjustments.
This is a good recipe for the weekend as it takes a bit of time.
For the marinade I mixed 3/4 cup orange juice, juice of half a lime, 1/2 a tablespoon of ground cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano, a tablespoon of olive oil, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1/2 a cup of chicken stock, and half a small onion finely chopped. Mix well.
I bought a pork shoulder that was just over a pound. Season with salt and pepper and pierce the meat with a knife on both sides to allow the marinade to really flavour the meat. Marinate a half hour on each side.
I don’t know that we can get Cuban rolls round here, I’ve never seen them but my husband made ciabatta bread for this. This was the best batch so far that we’ve baked.
Roast the pork at 325F/165C. Keep it covered for 45 minutes than uncover and continue cooking until the internal temp is 150F/65C and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Then it’s time to assemble the sandwiches. Slice the ciabatta and lay it out. Spread mustard of your choice onto the bread. I like using the garlic stone mustard. Layer the ingredients starting with swiss or jarlsberg, then the roast pork. Then spoon some of the garlic and onion from the cooked roast over the pork. Add pickle then the ham.
Butter the outside of the sandwiches and either cook them in a panini press or on an iron cast griddle using and iron cast press. Press down on the sandwiches as they cook. Cook until the sandwiches are about half the starting size, they are golden, and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
After making this I don’t think I can just buy roast pork again. It is so much better homemade and the citrus with the garlicky heat is wonderful with the rest of the ingredients.