Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Kitchen, My World - Cuba

I am so happy that My Kitchen, My World is back after a holiday hiatus. This week we travelled to Cuba. I have always wanted to go to Cuba. It is definitely on my list of places to go before I die. My friend Holly and I even started planning a trip there but with our crazy lives it didn't happen...yet!

Those of you who know me well know my love of a good sandwich. I love sammies so very much. So much so I made a Cuban sandwich. Loads of pork, pickles, and freshly baked Cuban rolls.

Cuban Rolls ~

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (17 ounces)
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (instant or active dry)
4 tablespoons butter (can substitute 3 tablespoons fresh lard, cut into small pieces)
1 1/4 cups water


In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Gently fold the dough in upon itself and turn it upside-down after 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into six pieces and shape each piece into a rough log. Let the logs rest for 15 minutes, covered, then shape each piece into a smooth batard shape (a log about 8 inches long, slightly tapered at each end). Place the loaves on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

Let the loaves rise, covered, for 1 hour. Brush or spray them with water, and slash one long lengthwise slit down the middle of each loaf. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the loaves are rising. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Sandwich Cubano ~

Cuban bread
Butter, softened
1 pound ham sliced
1 pound lechón asado (roasted Cuban pork) (recipe below)
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
Sliced dill pickles

Preheat a pancake griddle or large fry pan. I cheated and used our George Foreman grill.

Cut bread in half. Make each sandwich with the ingredients in this order: pickles, roasted pork, ham, and cheese. Be generous! Spread butter on the top of the roll.

Place the sandwich on the hot griddle (fry pan) sprayed with a little "Pam" or lightly greased. Place a heavy iron skillet or bacon press on top of the sandwich to flatten. (You really want to smash the sandwich, compressing the bread to about 1/3 its original size!) I pressed down on our grill really hard to flatten them.

Grill the sandwiches for two to three minutes on each side, until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden. Slice the sandwich in half diagonally and serve.

Roast Pork

(1) 2 to 4-pound pork shoulder roast OR pork loin roast (NOTE: You'll only need about 1 pound of the cooked meat for the Cuban sandwich recipe above.)
1 head garlic -- about 10 to 15 cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cup sour orange juice (If you can't get sour oranges in your area, use two parts fresh orange to one part fresh lemon and one part fresh lime)
1 cup minced onion
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 cup Spanish olive oil

Mash garlic, salt, and peppercorns into a paste, using a mortar and pestle. Stir in sour orange juice, onion, and oregano. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan until hot, but NOT deep frying hot! We’re looking for something in the neighborhood of 220 degrees F. Remove the oil from heat and quickly whisk in the garlic-orange juice mixture until well blended. Let cool before using as a marinade!

Pierce pork roast as many times as you can with a sharp knife or fork. Pour garlic mixture (save a little for basting while roasting) over pork, cover and let sit in refrigerator for two to three hours.

Using a suitable roasting pan or rack, sprinkle remaining marinade over pork and cook uncovered at 325°F. Roast until completely cooked (160°F), about 20 minutes per pound. Baste occasionally. Bring pan juices to a boil and simmer until the juice is reduced by half. Sprinkle some juice onto the pork when you put it in the sandwich.

Yum!!! I can't wait to make them again!!


Andrea said...

Oh, yum! I am going to try your Cuban rolls, they look delicious! I really wanted to make a veg version of the Cuban sandwich but didn't get around to it yet. Seeing yours just makes me want to make it tonight (I would if I had the ingredients!) I'm so glad MKMW is back from holiday too, I've missed our food travels :)

Elra said...

OMG, Michelle you rock girl! They don't just look gorgeous, they sounds so superb.
Well done dear.

joannabug said...

Oh yum, I love Cuban sandwiches! I've never really been able to reproduce them at home, but this looks wonderful!!

Lauren said...

looks delicious- i totally should have gone the cuban sandwich route!

Dale said...


Natashya said...

I have always wanted to try a cubano. I lost track of time this week but bought some plantains - I will make you some tostones if you give me a sandwich.. :)