Cuban Sandwiches

I don't normally cook things that need to be made the day before. This isn't because I don't like to; I'm just not usually organized enough to have 24 hours notice for a dish. Sometimes, however, it is worth it. And when it comes to these Cuban sandwiches, it totally is.

This recipe has not one but two things that need to be made in advance, but don't worry, both things are very easy. You need to make the starter for the bread by mixing flour, water and yeast.

And you need to marinate the pork by throwing it and a bunch of ingredients in a giant zip-lock bag.

Done and done, so easy. On day 2 (which is the actual day you'll be eating) you have to finish making the bread and roast the pork. I admit that making bread isn't the easiest thing, but it is worth it for these sandwiches so unless you live in Miami or someplace you can buy it, you should take the time and make it. I made four round loaves, but none of us were able to finish a sandwich, so next time I would make six. Also, I would make them a little thinner for frying and a little longer and less circular.

Now you have your bread and the roast pork. The rest of the sandwich requires no preparation: ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. This is supposedly the very authentic sandwich, but I've never actually had one so I wouldn't know if you wanted to change things up. However, without the bread and the pork this is really just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and where is the fun in that. Plus this pork is so tasty, look at the marinade, it has rum in it!

Once you get all your sandwiches assembled, toast them in a pan on the stove or in a sandwich press. If you do them on the stove, you will need something to press them down with. We used another pan. I set the stove to med-high and this was too hot, the bottom of one of the sandwiches got a little black. I would recommend medium, and check the bottoms regularly. Once the cheese is melted, they're ready to eat, and they are delicious!

Pork Tenderloin Cubano

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup dark rum
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 12-ounce pork tenderloins
1. Mix everything but the pork in a large resealable bag. Add the pork and refrigerate overnight.
2. Place pork in a baking pan and discard marinade. Roast in a 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, until the pork registers 150°F. Let pork stand 5 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into thin slices.
From Epicurious

Pan Cubano

1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3 tbsps warm water
3 tbsps bread or all-purpose flour

1. The day before baking; mix the starter ingredients, dissolving the yeast in the water first. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 tbsp vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 batch starter
1 Tbsp salt
4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture is foamy (5 to 10 minutes), stir in the lard, the remaining water, and the starter.
2. Mix well with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Stir in salt and flour, 1 cup at a time. You want to get a dough that is stiff enough to knead.
3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary. The dough should be pliable and not sticky.
4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles its' bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down.
5. To form the loaves, divide the dough in 4 pieces and shape into loaves.
6. Bake the loaves in a 350°F oven, about 30 minutes. They should be lightly browned and have a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
From Taste Of Cuba

Cuban Sandwich

For each sandwich:
1/2 - 1 loaf pan cubano (depending on how large you make them)
3 slices ham
3 slices swiss cheese
3 slices roast pork
1. Spread the mustard on both sides of the bread. Add the ham, pork, pickles and swiss cheese.
2. Spray your sandwich press or pan with cooking spray. Toast each side of the sandwich until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted.
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