Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cuban Flair

Living in Florida, the food has a lot of Spanish influence.  Once of the biggest influences we see is Cuban.  I LOVE a good Cuban sandwich but I was never brave enough to make one myself.  That is, until I was watching Food Network one day (what else is new) and I saw a recipe I knew I could handle.  So I whipped it up along with a soup I saw on the same episode and it immediately went into the meal rotation.

Cuban Sandwich and Black Bean Soup

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice 
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
Four 6-inch-long soft sub loaves, split 
About 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
About 3 tablespoons yellow mustard 
4 ounces thinly sliced ham 
6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese 
1 cup dill pickle chips 
About 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

Rub the pork all over with the cumin, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place in a slow cooker and drizzle with the orange and lime juices. Cook on high heat until the meat is tender and falling apart, 6 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely shred.

Spread one side of each loaf with mayonnaise and the other with mustard. Build the sandwiches with the pulled pork, ham, Swiss and pickles (you will have some pulled pork left over).

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place 2 of the sandwiches in the skillet and cover with another skillet, weighing it down with a heavy can or pot. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over, replace the top skillet and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, adding the remaining butter to the skillet.  

Note:  I used a sandwich press instead of a skillet.

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped 
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped 
Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, not drained
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, jalapenos and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and black beans with their liquid. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer about three-quarters of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth (be careful when blending hot liquids). Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt. Serve topped with cilantro and sour cream.

Note:  I used an immersion blender to puree the soup.  However, if yo DO use a blender, first let the soup cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth.