I absolutely love Cuban sandwiches. I’ve had them many times and in all kinds of restaurants. The strange thing is that sometimes they turn out amazing and other times they’re just barely eh (shoulder shrug). Why that is I have no idea because they couldn’t be easier to make and the ingredients are generally always the same. Today, it just so happened that I had all the ingredients, which normally I wouldn’t so I couldn’t really resist. The thing is I wanted to change it just a little bit but nothing major. Not long ago we went to a Mexican restaurant and on their specials menu they had a Cuban Quesadilla. I was very intrigued so I ordered it. It was great! Having tortillas in the pantry, I decided that’s what it would be…a Cuban Quesadilla!
The ingredients like I said are nearly always the same. I’ve never seen a menu that had anything different except it being made in quesadilla form instead of on bread.
Last week my friend Shanna from Pineapple and Coconut (check her out…she’s the bomb) gave me her oh-so-simple but oh-so-delicious recipe for Kahlua Pork. Because I had never had it I thought it was marinated in Kahlua or it was a major ingredient. Turns out no! It’s called kahlua because you use Hawaiian sea salt and it has a Hawaiian flare. I said it was simple. It’s a pork shoulder roast, a tablespoon of Hawaiian sea salt and two tablespoons (I think, Shanna correct me if I’m wrong) of liquid smoke. Crock pot for 8 hours on low…done! Whoa! So tender and juicy and believe it or not it has flavor. It will even shred with a plastic fork. Well (and there was a reason for that story) I had pork for the Cuban Quesadilla. Also, last week I stopped and bought a smoked ham. There’s this cute couple who pull this awesome trailer with a huge smoker behind their truck up to one of the big parking lots near my grocery store and sell the meats that they’ve smoked. Their ribs are out of this world. I’m not sure I’ve had better ribs before in my life. Well, this week they had smoked hams so I grabbed one. Now, that gives me two of the main ingredients in a Cuban sandwich.
UPDATED TO ADD: And I spoke with Shanna today (she says hi!) and she corrected me. It’s Kalua Pork and it means to cook in an underground oven which is how the Hawaiians have traditionally cooked it for years. Hmmm…good to know!
I took a tortilla and slathered it with mustard and then layered provolone cheese.
Then I layered on dill pickle slices. See?
I added medium thickness ham on top.
Then the perfect kahlua pork.
And swiss cheese on this side.
I added a little more mustard to this tortilla and topped the tower I was building.
On the outside I smeared softened butter and browned it on either side. He was a little tricky to flip but I did it. I also placed it in a hot oven for a few minutes to make sure the very center was warm and all the cheese was gooey.
I LOVED the finished product. It was different but still the same.
- 2 flour tortillas
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 6 slices swiss cheese
- 1/3 cup dill pickle slices
- 6 slices medium-thickness ham
- 3/4 cup shredded or sliced pork ( I used kahlua pork)
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Spread half the mustard on one side of each tortilla.
- Layer provolone cheese, pickle slices, ham slices, pork, and swiss cheese in that order on the mustard side of one tortilla.
- Top with the mustard side facing the swiss cheese with the other tortilla.
- Spread butter on the outside of both tortillas.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a medium saucepan on medium high heat place the quesadilla and cook until golden brown.
- Flip and repeat the process.
- Slide tortilla onto a baking sheet (or use an oven safe saucepan) and place it in the oven and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the inside is warm and cheese is gooey.
Have you eaten a Cuban before? What did you think?