Chef, Mojo, and a Sandwich
Chef turned out to be a great mixture of both food porn and a decent storyline. After watching Chef, I lay awake trying to determine whether I wanted most to make a Cuban sandwich, buy a food truck, or hop onto the next flight to Miami. Since the flight and the food truck were really out of the question, I would have to settle for the sandwich. After a little more research, I realized the sandwich had to start with mojo, which apparently isn't just something Austin Powers lost but a meat marinade.
It took me forever, but here it is. I doubted whether making the Cuban style roast pork would make a difference in the sandwich, but the marinade is so strong that it actually comes through. Mojo has a sour orange base with enough garlic and onion to kill a virus.
The recipe I used called for mashing the pepper cloves, garlic, and onion up in a mortar and pestle, but I realized part way through that they must have been talking about a really BIG one, so I had to use a processor instead. Suit yourself.
Here is the original recipe I used. It makes enough for a six pound pork roast.
Roast Pork in Mojo (Lechon Asado)
a 2-3 pound pork roast
10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3/4 cup sour orange juice (or two parts orange juice to one part lemon and one part lime)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup olive oil
1. Smash up the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Into a running food processor, drop the salt, garlic, and oregano. Turn off the processor and add the onion. Pulse until the onion is finely cut up. Stir in the sour orange juice.
2. In a skillet, gently heat the 3/4 cup olive oil. Add the onion/garlic mixture to the oil, take it off the heat, and whisk it thoroughly. Let it cool.
3. Stab the pork all over with a sharp knife and then put it in a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Leave it in the refrigerator at least overnight.
4. Put the roast in a Dutch oven. Pour in at least an inch of marinade and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to low, cover it tightly, and let it braise until the internal temperature is 170 degrees. Make sure that it never dries out and add more marinade if you need to so it doesn't burn.
5. Take it out, let it cool, and slice it.
Finally- the Cuban
I've eaten a few Cuban sandwiches in Miami back in the day, but this was before I had a digital camera, and I don't think I have any photographic evidence. I also don't have much of a memory either, so I researched this a bit. People are very passionate about what should or should not go in this particular sandwich. Roast pork, butter, ham, lettuce, pickle, and Swiss cheese all get the green light. Baguette, salami, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato do not belong. Mustard is tolerated by some, welcomed by others.
However, my chef who follows no rules just made me a sandwich with mustard AND the forbidden mayonnaise. While it might not have been a Cuban anymore, it did taste a lot like an In'n'Out Burger. In a good way. I don't know what constitutes Cuban bread, so we used those big fluffy supermarket baguettes and the result was good.
Be very generous with the butter.
Butter the bread. Layer on the roast pork, ham, pickles, and cheese. Heat some butter in a frying pan and fry one side of the sandwich. Press down on it with another pan to flatten the sandwich, and when it has browned, flip it over, adding more butter. Cook it until the cheese is melted. You want the bread to absorb the butter since this is a glorified grilled cheese sandwich.
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