Homemade Cubanos

Cuban sandwiches A.K.A Cubanos are the chefs (and not just the movie) ultimate sandwich of choice. It is a cultural symbol of food that resonates with the heart of any foodie. We're taking this one to the next level with homemade Cuban bread and an intensified mojo pork.



SUPPLIES USED:

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Cast Iron Pan


INGREDIENTS:

Bread Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups (310ml) water at 100°F (38°C)

  • 1 tbsp (10g) quick-rising yeast

  • 3½ cups (500g) bread flour

  • 1 tbsp (13g) sugar

  • 2 tsp (5g) salt

  • 1½ tbsp (30g) lard


Mojo Braised Pork Ingredients:

  • 4-5lb (2–2.25gk) boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt

  • 2 heads peeled garlic

  • 2 shallots

  • Zest of 2 oranges

  • Zest of 3 limes

  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves

  • ½ bunch fresh mint leaves

  • 1 tbsp (5g) fresh ground cumin

  • 2 whole Serrano chilies

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1½ tbsp (26g) kosher salt

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh lime juice or Seville orange juice

  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh orange juice


Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 2 slices Cubano bread (cut to the desired length)

  • Unsalted butter, softened, to coat

  • 4 slices boiled ham

  • Yellow mustard, to coat

  • ½–1 cup Mojo-braised Braised Pork

  • 1–2 whole dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

  • 2–3 slices Swiss cheese


INSTRUCTIONS:

Cubano Bread Method:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 8 minutes.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the bread flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add in the warm yeast mixture. Mix until combined. Once a cohesive dough is formed, keep mixing for another 2 to 3 minutes until smooth.

  3. Add in the lard and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute until combined and smooth.

  4. Grease a medium-size bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl. Covered with greased plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

  5. De-gas the dough by smacking it or punching it down. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into two even pieces. Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Take one piece of dough and flatten it out into about ½ inch (1.25cm) thick rectangle. From a long edge, tightly roll up the dough and close the seams at the bottom and sides.

  7. Carefully roll the log while applying pressure outward to slightly taper the ends. Should end up about 16 inches (40cm) long. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

  8. Place each piece onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 4 to 6 inches (10–15.25cm) apart. Cover with another baking sheet letting the dough proof for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

  9. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly spray the logs with water. Using a razor blade, score a shallow seam along the length of the dough.

  10. Place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven, and place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Spray the inside of the oven with a little water to generate steam.

  11. Let the bread steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C), remove the steaming pan of water, and let the bread bake for another 20 to 22 minutes, or until lightly browned.

  12. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.


Tip: Make this a day or two ahead of time if you will be toasting it.


Mojo Braised Pork Method:

  1. Prepare the mojo marinade. In a blender, add the shallots, garlic cloves, orange zest, lime zest, oregano leaves, mint leaves, fresh ground cumin, serrano chilies, olive oil, kosher salt, lime juice, and orange juice. Blend together at high speed until completely smooth.

  2. Reserve 1 cup of the marinade and refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

  3. In a 1 pound resealable bag, place the pork shoulder and pour in the remaining mojo marinade to cover the meat. Seal the bag and marinate it in the refrigerator overnight.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove the pork from the marinade, place it into a 7-quart (6.5 liters) Dutch oven. Pour in all of the marinades. The marinade should come about halfway up the pot, but if not, add a little bit of chicken stock.

  5. Bake the pork, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and let it cook for 3 to 3½ hours, uncovered, turning occasionally to make sure all sides get browned.

  6. Remove from the Dutch oven and place onto a cutting board to cool.

  7. Take all the remaining caramelized mojo juice at the bottom of the Dutch oven (doing your best to leave the fat in the pot), and place it into a small bowl. Make sure there are no solids in the sauce.

  8. In a large bowl using two forks, shred the meat and toss it together in the caramelized mojo sauce. Season to taste with salt. Use in Cubanos, on rice, in a quesadilla.


Sandwich Method:

  1. Butter the inside of each slice of Cubano bread with unsalted butter. Place buttered-side down onto a cold pan over medium heat and let that toast.

  2. While the bread toasts, in a separate pan add a little butter and melt to coat the bottom. Set to medium-high heat and sear off a few slices of ham. Make sure both sides are browning. Set to the side and keep warm.

  3. Slice a whole pickle lengthwise.

  4. Once the bread is toasted, generously coat the inside of each slice with yellow mustard. On the bottom slice, arrange the sliced pickles to cover, followed by a layer of the seared ham. Add a layer of roasted pork shoulder, and top with a generous amount of swiss cheese. [I like to torch the cheese and get the melting started] Top with the top of the bread.

  5. Preheat a heavy cast-iron pan (which you’ll use to flatten the toasting sandwich). Generously coat the top and bottom of the bread with butter. Place the sandwich into a cold pan over medium heat. Place the preheated heavy cast-iron pan on top to press into the bread. Toast the sandwich until the bottom is golden, flip it, and place the cast-iron skillet back on and repeat the process. (A panini press will also work.)

  6. Remove from the pan. Cut into two diagonal slices and enjoy.