Cubano sandwich (Roast pork, cheese and pickles)

If, like me, you’re looking forward to an evening’s NFL action (or even if you’re not) – these Cuban pressed sandwiches are a great accompaniment to go with your low calorie, low alcohol beer. They’re also a great way to use up roast pork left over from Sunday lunch. Add smoked ham, emmental, sliced pickle and mustard and you have a great treat. This is the traditional filling but you can add or take away anything you like.

Cubano sandwich

Serves: 2

Time: 2-3 hours or 20 minutes if using left over roast pork

1/2 kilogram pork shoulder, rolled and tied up
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled a squashed
1 white onion, sliced
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 large oranges, juiced
1 lime, juiced
250ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves

2 Pan suave or other long light textured white rolls (like a sub)
Dijon mustard
6 slices good quality smoked ham
6 slices of emmental cheese

Unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. In a roasting dish add the pork, cumin, oregano and a good drizzle of olive oil. Heat over a medium flame then add the garlic, onion and chilli flakes and sear the meat on all sides until lightly golden. Add the fruit juices, stock and bay leaves and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn down the heat to 160 degrees centigrade, cover and braise for  2 hours until the meat is cooked very tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Retain the juices from the pan, strain and reduce to make a sauce for dipping.

When you’re ready to make your sandwiches, slice your bread rolls in half and spread mustard on both the top and bottom – be brave! Then add cheese, pickles, ham, slices of roast pork and then more cheese.

If you don’t have a panini press (I sure don’t) Heat a large heavy bottomed frying pan or griddle and a second, ideally cast iron, pan until hot. These will form your makeshift sandwich press.

Add a generous knob of butter to your frying pan and then add your sandwiches. Melt some extra butter and brush this liberally over the top of the sandwich. Get your second very hot, heavy pan and put this on top. Don’t press down to begin with as you’ll lose your filling. After a minute or 2 you can start to press down carefully. Your sandwich is ready when the bread is golden brown, meat is hot and the cheese is melted. Keep an eye on the heat to make sure you don’t burn your bread. If you don’t want to use a makeshift press you could just flip the sandwich halfway through cooking but attempt this manoeuvre at your own risk.

Remove from the pan and slice in half along a diagonal, the traditional way. I made some scratchings with the fat from the pork and had extra pickles on the side.

If you enjoy these watch the film Chef about a guy who starts a food truck business selling these. I think it’s on most of the streaming services.