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Cuban sandwiches

The Cubano, or Cuban sandwich, is like a ham and cheese sandwich on steroids, made with roast pork as well as ham, and pickles and mustard. The Cuban bread, pan Cubano de manteca, is enriched with lard and baked with steam produced in the oven by spraying in water to form the typical light, shiny crust. Our recipe is inspired by Maricel E Presilla's in her book Gran Cocina Latina; bought ciabatta makes a workable substitute. Start this recipe a day ahead to prove the bread. 

You'll need

Melted butter, for brushing Dijon mustard, to taste 12 thin ham slices 18 Swiss cheese slices, such as Emmental Dill pickles, thinly Finely chopped white onion and coarsely chopped coriander, to serve   Cuban bread 3 gm dried yeast 50 gm (1/4 cup) lard, softened 600 gm (4 cups) bread flour 2 tsp caster sugar   Mojo pork 1.5 kg piece of pork shoulder, skin scored Juice of 2 oranges 1 tbsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves 1 tsp cumin seeds Large pinch of allspice


  • 01
  • For Cuban bread, mix yeast, lard, 400gm flour and 410ml lukewarm water in a bowl until dough is spongy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Add remaining flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt, transfer to an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, but still soft (2-3 minutes; or knead by hand for 5 minutes). Divide dough into 6 pieces, roll each into a ball, roll out to a 25cm square, then roll the dough up tightly to form a log, taper the ends, and seal the seams. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, loosely cover with plastic wrap held off the dough by placing on upturned cups, and stand at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  • 02
  • For mojo pork, preheat oven to 150C and combine ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate to marinate (1-2 hours). Place pork and marinade in a roasting pan and roast, adding a little water to pan if necessary to prevent base burning, until tender (3-3½ hours). If skin hasn’t crackled, place it under a hot grill for 2-4 minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop crackling and meat, place in a bowl and coat with pan juices.
  • 03
  • Increase oven to 195C, fill a roasting pan a quarter of the way up the sides with boiling water and place in the base of the oven to steam. Place bread on the middle tray, spray oven with water, quickly close the door, reduce oven to 180C and bake, spraying oven twice more (quickly to avoid heat escaping), until bread is risen and golden and sounds hollow when tapped (15-18 minutes). Cool on a wire rack (1 hour), then halve horizontally.
  • 04
  • Heat a sandwich press to medium-high. Butter the outsides of bread and spread Dijon on the inside, then layer with ham, pork, crackling, Swiss cheese, pickles, onion and coriander. Sandwich bread and grill, pressing to flatten, until golden and cheese melts (2-4 minutes), then serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

A can of cold lager.

Featured in

Jul 2016

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