How to make the best Cubano Sandwich (outside of Miami…)

Cubano Recipe

This is one of my favorite uses for left-over roast pork shoulder (and my all-time favorite sandwich!)

Cubano Sandwich 2Roasting a whole, boneless pork shoulder (or two) is a great way to stretch your grocery budget, and get several delicious meals in one.

I buy my shoulders in 2-packs at Cash & Carry for less than $30, and easily get 8-10 meals from them.

It’s really a great deal!

Now, just as an acknowledgement to all of my awesome Cuban readers, I know that you can’t get a “real” Cubano sandwich, outside of Miami (or Cuba, I would assume), as it’s very hard to find those very special Cuban rolls they use there.

That said, this recipe is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best Cubano you can get…outside of Miami!

This recipe assumes you’re using leftovers from a previously roasted pork shoulder. To roast the perfect pork shoulder, see my recipe for Easy Oven Pulled Pork.

Slicing Roast Pork Shoulder

HomeChef Note: For the Cubanos, you don’t want your roast pork to be quite as “falling apart, as you do for pulled pork. Modify the cooking time to 8-10 hours, and just use salt and pepper, instead of a BBQ rub. Be sure to chill the roast overnight, before slicing.

Leftover Roast Pork Cubanos

For the stock:
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed with the side of your knife
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 lime, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the sandwich:
1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder, roasted & sliced
1 long Cuban bread roll (or 1/4 whole-wheat baguette)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 slices of Swiss cheese
4 “sandwich slice” dill pickles
8 thin slices deli ham
Olive oil & butter

Greg Dupree

Combine all of the stock ingredients in a saucepan, whisk, and simmer until reduced by 1/3. Add pork roast slices, and heat until it just begins to simmer again, then remove from heat.

Making a Cubano Sandwich
Note: Though not part of the traditional recipe, I like to toast the bread, and put a little sear on the ham, before assembling.

To prepare sandwiches: split bread in half then layer the sandwich (in order) with mustard, cheese, pickles, ham, pork, salt & pepper to taste, then cheese again (the cheese glues it all together). I use whole wheat baguette because it’s the closest approximation to the Cuban rolls that I can find, here on the left coast.

Optional: drizzle a little of the reduced stock over the meat.

A “Plancha”, sometimes call a “panini press” is the key to a great Cubano! Don’t have one? Get one here!

To cook, heat a plancha or or a large cast iron grill pan over medium heat and lightly coat with equal parts butter and olive oil.

If you don’t have a plancha, place the sandwiches on the skillet and top with another heavy skillet and a couple of heavy weights (bricks, or cans of tomato-sauce work well).

What do you mean, you don’t keep bricks in your kitchen? 😉

Cubano sandwich Recipe

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Press down firmly and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side (butter the top, before flipping) until the sandwich has compressed to about a third of its original size and the bread is super-crispy.

Cubano with Rice and Beans

Serve with homemade plantain chips, or black beans & rice (Moros e Christanos).

Buen provecho!

~Chef Perry


Pasta Fajioli…an easy way to empty the fridge

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Had great fun being back on AM Northwest last week (watch the clip, below), and got to talk about one of my all-time favorite subjects…comfort food. It’s getting chilly up here in the PNW, and nothing warms you back up like a good pot of soup.

One of my Facebook friends commented that whenever I’m on the show, I always do Italian recipes.

It’s true.

I love French food, and Asian food, and pretty much ANY food, but if I’m going to present the best version of something, something you can taste the love in, it’s probably going to be an old Italian Grandmother’s recipe.

The Home Chef's Guide to Frugal Fine CookingI love this recipe, not just because it’s delicious, and brings back great childhood memories, but because it’s one of those dishes that proves you don’t have to spend a lot, to make an amazing meal.  Pasta is cheap. Beans are cheap. Carrots, onions, celery? Cheap. Add whatever leftover meat and veggies from last night’s dinner, and presto…you have soup!

(For more tips, tricks, and recipes for great eating on a budget, check out my new book, “The Home Chef’s Guide to Frugal Fine Cooking” on!)

Soggiorno caldo!

~Chef Perry

Pasta Fajioli Recipe for AMNW
(pasta va-zool)

1 lb meat, cooked and chopped (roast chicken, sausage, hamburger, etc.)
36 oz “Quick and Easy Chicken Stock
28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained (or 6 Romas, freshly roasted*)
15 oz tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
4 celery ribs, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups beans (cannellini, kidney beans, etc,) rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp coarse black pepper
8 ounces uncooked pasta (ditalini, macaroni, etc.)
4 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Additional veggies: Whatcha’got? Pretty much any leftover veggies will compliment this soup. Peas, corn, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, cabbage…empty that fridge!

Mirepoix for soup

Make the mirepoix: In a saute pan, heat oil over medium low, and saute onions, celery, and carrots until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, and transfer to a stock pot.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Add broth, sauce, beans, oregano, and black pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add pasta, parsley, and any additional veggies; simmer, covered, 10-14 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Pasta Fajioli AM Northwest

Stir in meat, and serve with crusty, warm bread.

Yield: 10-12 servings

*To roast your own: Place 6 Roma tomatoes on a very hot grill, under a broiler, or directly on above a gas burner. Char, rotating frequently, until blackened on all sides. Place tomatoes in a large zip bag and seal, allowing them to steam 20-30 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the bag, and peel off most of the charred skin (I ike to leave a little, for flavor). Dice the tomatoes, place in a bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and just cover with hot water. Allow to come to room temp before using the tomatoes and water in this recipe.

Here’s the clip from AM Northwest:

Pasta Fajioli Recipe AM Northwest
Click on image to be redirected to AM Northwest’s video page