Food and Drink: Cubanos Inspired By Chef

A few weeks ago J and I checked out Chef the movie, at The Revue on Roncesvalles. Chef follows Carl Casper through a social media spat with a famous food blogger, the loss of his restaurant job and his re-emergence as a Cuban food truck sensation. The movie itself is hilarious and heartwarming, with an all-star cast featuring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara and John Leguizamo. However, the real star of this movie is the food - delicious Cubanos, Pasta Aglio e Olio, Tostones and more. 

After sitting in the theatre and salivating for 2 hours, I was inspired to create a Cuban feast at home. I did a little research and found that all the food in the movie was created by famed chef Roy Choi, founder of Kogi a Korean Taco food truck in LA. I spent some time hunting down the recipes and came across an article in Food and Wine that features Choi's recipe for Mojo Pork, the star in his Cubano. I tinkered ever so slightly with Choi's Mojo, based on what I had on hand. The result was garlicky and citrusy - a truly outstanding sandwich.

You'll need:

For the Mojo Pork:

  • 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup packed parsley, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, lightly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of fresh oregano, lightly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large pork tenderloin*
*If you're cooking for a large group, use a pork shoulder.

For the Cubanos:
  • 1/2 pound sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
  • Soft Baguette or sub buns
  • Softened butter for brushing
  • Yellow mustard for brushing
  • Sour dill pickles, sliced lengthwise
  • Thinly sliced Mojo Pork

1. In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade, except the salt and pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag and add the pork. Seal the bag, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and discard the marinade. Season all over with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and cook for 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160°; transfer to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the meat thinly, across the grain.

4. Once the meat has cooled slightly, heat a cast iron skillet or panini press.

5. Brush the cut sides of the bread with mustard. Layer the ham, Mojo pork, Swiss cheese and pickles on the baguette and close the sandwiches.

6. Generously brush the outside of the sandwiches with butter and set them in the skillet or press. If you're using a skillet top the sandwiches with a large baking sheet, weighed down with heavy cans. Cook the sandwiches over medium heat until they're browned and crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted, 3 minutes per side in a skillet or 3 minutes total in a press. Cut the Cubanos in half and serve hot.

Picture #2 found here

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