Cuban Roasted Pork and Cuban Sandwiches

If you watched the movie The Chef, you probably wanted to eat a Cuban sandwich the entire second half of the movie.  Maybe that’s just my inner fat kid talking but ever since watching that movie I’ve had a hankering for Cuban food.

My favorite spot, Versailles (both in Miami and in LA, different owners I believe), are a little out of reach. I decided to take matters into my own hands and roast a pork leg and make some damn sandwiches!  Isn’t that how all good stories start?

Let’s be honest. Sometimes we just need a good sandwich.

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The ingredients are simple: roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles.  But simple is definitely not what I would call this sandwich.

All this started with roasted pork marinated overnight in orange, lemon and lime juice with lots of garlic, onion and oregano.  Then I roasted it on high heat to get it crispy then let it cook low and slow for about 4 hours.

I’m not sure how to make a hunk of meat look good, but here it is.

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A hunk of meat that got lots of TLC.  Then I sliced it up thin as the base for my cuban sandwiches.  You should know they’re delicious because I’m eating one as I type this.  My keyboard is greasy and I’m ok with that.  So let’s get started.  You start with the pork….

Cuban-Style Roasted Pork

1 pork leg (mine was about 7lbs)
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
20 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
handful of fresh oregano

Cuban Sandwiches

a few slices of cuban-style roasted pork, recipe follows
2 slices of ham
1 slice of swiss cheese
some pickles
some mustard
dang good bread*
a bit of butter (for grilling your sandwich)

In a blender, blend together juices, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and oregano.  Pierce pork as much as you can with a paring knife.  Pour juice mixture over pork leg and marinate overnight.

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 450F.  Transfer leg to a roasting dish and roast at 450F for 20 minutes, reserve the excess marinate.  After 20 minutes, turn down the heat to 300F and continue to cook 4-6 more hours.  If you want it falling off the bones tender, cook it longer.  If you want it sliceable, it should be ready around 4 hours.  If you slice it and it’s still bloody, throw it back in the oven.

While your leg is baking, transfer the excess marinade into a sauce pan and boil for about 5-10 minutes.  This will be the perfect side mojo sauce for dipping your pork in, also great with rice and yucca.

Once you remove the pork from the oven.  Let it chill on the counter for about 10 minutes on its own.  Then slice for sandwiches.  Now you’re ready to assemble your sandwiches.

*A note about “dang good bread.”  Cuban bread is delicious.  It’s soft and wonderful but not always easily accessible.  I used hoagie rolls I found at the grocery store.  It did the job.  Do with that what you will.

Spread your dang good bread with mustard (I like a good amount of mustard on there), then top with pickles, ham, roasted pork slices and swiss cheese.

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Put the sandwich together and grill it.  If you have a panini press, use that.  If you’re not fancy (like me), put it in a pan with a bit of butter then place another pan on top with a jar of something heavy to weigh it down.  And ta-da! Instant panini press on the cheap.

Allow to cook a few minutes (low and slow is the best way to go so the cheese melts), then flip and cook for a few more minutes until toasted and melty and delicious.

Slice in half and serve.  Repeat with however many sandwiches you’d like to make.

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A whole pork leg will yield a lot of meat, and I understand that this is definitely a process, but trust me, it’s worth it.

So invite your friends over, roast a pork leg and make some sandwiches, then go for a walk because you’ll probably need to walk this off.

What’s your favorite type of sandwich?   This is a tough one for me. This Cuban sandwich was amazing but I also love Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches.  Maybe that should be my next sandwich attempt!  But first… I’m running my first half marathon next Sunday, wish me luck!

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Egg Salad Hot Dog

I’m pretty sure Honey Boo Boo would love this meal.

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I saw her fill a bath tub with mayonnaise once and the play in it.  That tells me she’d be all over this.  It’s really all sorts of classy.

Eggland’s Best sent me some eggs for a party I’m planning soon, so clearly I’ve been thinking about eggs a lot.  I had the idea on a random day that egg salad would be great on a hot dog, because I’m pretty much sure hot dogs go great with most things.

I’m not sure I’ve ever told you this, but I love hot dogs.  No really.  Like a lot.  It’s borderline weird how much I like hot dogs.  So when I thought hmm I bet egg salad would be good on a hot dog (because that’s what I think about in the middle of the day, totally normal), I decided to put it to the test and Jesse was my guinea pig.

Jesse came home to find my creation even though we had plans to do some grilling.  I think we were both pleasantly surprised…

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I know it sounds like a weird combination, but I promise, it’s really tasty.  Also, since this is clearly the classiest of meals (insert heavy sarcasm), I won’t judge you if you want to eat this in private. But let’s be honest, you should probably own the classiness and tell the world about this awesome combination. eggsaladhotdog

 

Egg Salad Hot Dogs

4 eggs, hard boiled
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon Barn Burner Mustard
dash of garlic salt
1 green onion, chopped
4 hot dogs
4 buns

Dice hard boiled egg.  Mix egg with mayo, mustard, garlic salt and white part and half the green part of one green onion.

Heat hot dogs as you’d like. Boil. Grill. Microwave.  Whatever you prefer.

Lay hot dog on bun. Top with egg salad.  Garnish with remaining green onion.  Serve with ketchup if you’d like.  Makes 4 hot dogs.

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I tried to keep it light on the mayo.  What really added the flavor here was the mustard.  I’ve told you about Green Mountain Mustard before: HERE and HERE.   Seriously, their Barn Burner is what makes this awesome.  If you can’t get your hands on this mustard, maybe try putting some hot sauce in the egg salad.

To top off the classiness, I have to tell you I put ketchup on mine.  No regrets.

Ok so egg salad on a hot dog.  I’m going to need you to trust me (and Honey Boo Boo).  It’s pretty great.

awesome

 

What do you think?  Egg salad on a hot dog? Any other strangely awesome combos?

Spicy Black Bean and Kale Grilled Cheese

So a few weeks ago I told you about how Green Mountain Mustard sent me some of their mustard for me to try.  I originally proposed to make a grilled cheese sandwich and then stumbled upon the epic idea that became my German Nachos(ish).  But ever since, I’ve been thinking about how delicious their mustard is, because really it is, and how I NEED to make a grilled cheese with it.  But not just any grilled cheese, an amazing one and so I finally did.

Yesterday, all I could think about was grilled cheese, and since it was Meatless Monday, why not make something epically delicious to show the world how wonderful meatless can be.

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I mean. Can we take a minute and observe the cheesy goodness?

 

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Now I’m going to have to come clean with you.  I probably ate this in about 3 minutes.  I didn’t have a stop watch, but before I knew it, it was gone.  I think that’s a good sign.  Then my mouth was a little bit on fire, because this mustard is straight up PICANTE.  If you’re a fan of spice, you’re going to love this.  If spicy isn’t your thing, it’s cool.  We can still be friends, use regular mustard, or skip it.

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Spicy Black Bean and Kale Grilled Cheese

1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
1 kale leaf, veined and chopped
1/3 cup black beans, cooked

1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp butter, softened
2 slices of whole wheat bread*
1 tbsp Barn Burner, Red Habanero Mustard

2 slices sharp white cheddar

Grease small skillet and turn on to medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, and kale.  Sautee a few minutes until soft.  Add black beans, cilantro, cumin and salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes then transfer to plate.  Using a fork, mash beans lighly and set aside.

 

blackbeans

 

(Note: I didn’t fit all of this in the sandwich so I just ate it on it’s own and it’s delicious. The end.)

Spread bread with butter and turn over then spread with mustard.  Lay 1 slice of cheese on each side (on the mustard side, since you’ll be grilling the buttered side).  Spread one side with black bean mixture and put the sandwich together.

Place sandwich on griddle heated to low.  Cook a few minutes until golden, flip and cook a few more minutes until golden and cheese is melted.  Remember when it comes to grilled cheese, slow and steady wins the race.  In case you forgot here are my tips for fabulous grilled cheese.

 

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Serve immediately and slice if desired.

*Note: I got my bread at Black Market Bakery. If you’re in OC, try it! Amazingly delicious, fluffy and fresh! Also free of preservatives!

This combo was amazingly delicious.  Obviously I’m biased, because I LOOOOOVE black beans, but you should definitely give this a shot.  I think this would be even more amazing dipped into sour cream, because who doesn’t love dipping sandwiches in sauces?

Please also note that if you decided to add bacon and avocado to this, I wouldn’t judge you.

If I could, I would invite you all over for this spicy black bean grilled cheese, but since we’re far away, make it and tell me if you love it.  How does that sound?

What’s your favorite grilled cheese combo?

German Nachos (ish): Baked Fries with Sauerkraut, Sausage and Muenster Cheese Sauce

I love mustard.  No really.  Like a lot.  For as long as I can remember, mustard has been one of my favorite condiments.  Even the cheap yellow mustard you get on Subway sandwiches (no mayo, extra mustard please).  I love it.  It adds such a nice flavor profile to most foods.

But fancy mustard, that’s a whole different ball game.

Recently, I got in touch with the guys at Green Mountain Mustard.  They make fancy pants mustard, but in the least pretentious way possible.

But anyway, these guys know mustard.  They sent me two jars of their mustard so I could make an EPIC grilled cheese sandwich.  While the grilled cheese sandwich is still  in the works, I had this idea and had to make it asap.  It involved one of the mustard flavors they sent me: Deli Dirt.  Their Deli Dirt tastes like all the goodness of a deli put into one little jar, and this mustard is THICK.  It’s basically the consistency of hummus, which is awesome.

mustard

I’m in love.  And thus, this creation was born:

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One of the things that I love about mustard is that it adds a ton of flavor to food without a ton of fat (or calories).  You know I like to make things as light as I can.  So while this looks fatty and decadent, it’s a little bit lighter than you would think (please note, I’m not actually saying this is healthy, but it’s better than eating something deep fried). mustardfries3

Oh and I should probably mention that I had no idea what to call this.  I couldn’t really call it a “Pile of Deliciousness,” which is what it is.  So instead I thought of a more Pinterest-friendly name: German Nachos (ish).  Ish is a really important qualifier here.  Enjoy.

German Nachos (ish): Baked Fries with Sauerkraut, Sausage and Muenster Cheese Sauce

3 large potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Deli Dirt mustard
1 sausage (bratwurst are tasty. true story.), sliced
1/2-1 cup sauerkraut
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp Deli Dirt Mustard
1 cup milk (I used non-fat)
3 oz Muenster cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425F.  Slice potatoes into fry shape.

potatoes

Toss with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of Deli Dirt.  Sprinkle with salt and lay on a cooling rack that is placed over a baking sheet.

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This will help your fries get crisp all around and keep the bottoms from burning.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until fries are golden and crispy (start checking them after about 30 minutes, since everyone’s oven is different and you might have cut yours thinner than mine).  While your fries bake up, have a dance party.  This is not optional.

10 minutes before your fries are ready to go (aka 20 or so minutes after you put them in the oven), brown your sausage in a pan and set aside.  Then make your cheese sauce.

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Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour and stir together.  Cook for 2 minutes or until golden.  Stream in milk very slowly while whisking to break up any clumps that form.  Once you’ve added all the milk and whisked smooth.  Whisk in the mustard and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now assemble.  Lay some fries on a plate.  Top with sauerkraut (you’ll note in the recipe I said 1/2-1 cup, because I love sauerkraut and ended up adding a ton more after I photographed, but if you don’t care for it as much, add less) and sausage, then drizzle with cheese sauce.  Serve immediately.

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This recipe will serve 2-4 people.  Confession: Jesse and I devoured the entire thing.  I don’t feel guilty.

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The perfect bite will include a bit of potato, sauerkraut and sausage.  I promise it’s delicious.  If you wanted to keep this low carb, I bet this would be delicious if you replaced the potatoes with spaghetti squash.  Ok, I might have to try that ASAP.

I can’t wait to try more recipes with this awesome mustard.  Don’t worry, grilled cheese is coming soon!

Do you love mustard? What’s your condiment of choice?