TURKEY CUBANOS

The perfect left over sandwich is a matter fraught with conflict. So many opinions, so many options.  I love the idea of going a little off book from the classic, so I played around with a Cuban twist for this day-after-Thanksgiving favorite.  The Cubano sandwich is one of the great sandwiches in history.  It’s a combination of roasted pork, ham, cheese, and pickles on Cuban bread, with mustard and mayo as options.  The combination of crunchy, toasty loveliness with gooey cheese, smokey ham, zesty pork cooked in mojo, and the snap of pickles is just wonderful.  So I switched out the pork for mojo roasted turkey, and the ham for deli turkey. It’s very very good. 

DSC_8042

DSC_8035

INGREDIENTS

For 4 Sandwiches

1 loaf cuban bread

if you can’t find, use a soft french loaf, preferably in a baton or baguette shape

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

15 slices dill pickles

1 pound mojo roasted turkey (recipe below)

1 pound deli style turkey, sliced

1/2 pound swiss cheese

1/4 cup mustard (optional)

1/4 cup garlic aioli (optional) (I’m lazy and just mix minced garlic and mayo together)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat a pancake griddle or large fry pan to medium hot. Cut the bread into sections about 8 inches long. Cut these in half and generously spread butter on both halves (inside).

Make each sandwich with the ingredients in this order: pickles, mojo roasted turkey, deli style turkey, and cheese. Be generous!

To cook, either use a panini press or a griddle. If using a griddle, heat the griddle over medium heat, lightly grease the griddle, and add the sandwich. Press down hard (this is best done with a “steak weight” if you have it) to compress the sandwich. Cook for about 3 minutes a side, until the bread is golden and the cheese is melty. Enjoy!

DSC_8015

MOJO ROASTED TURKEY

Almost every culture has a food elixir.  It’s the stuff of magic, the subtle combination of flavors that every homecook tweaks into perfection and has to be made just so. In Cuba, it’s mojo – a mix of seville orange juice (sour or bitter oranges), onion, and oregano.  It’s glorious. Today I’m using it as the base for my roast chicken, but you could just as easily braise pork shoulder in it, grill the chicken instead, marinade and sauté shrimp in it.  Basically any “white” meat will go fabulously with it in practically any application.  The marinade smells heavenly, and it’ll become a kitchen staple for you too, I promise.

INGREDIENTS

[NOTE If you have access to seville oranges, lucky you! Use all seville orange juice instead of the the blend of citrus juices below.

1 head garlic, cloves removed and peeled (about 11 cloves)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoons oregano leaves

1 whole turkey (small, 4 to 8 lbs), cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 orange, cut into 3 pieces crosswise

DIRECTIONS

Combine the garlic, salt and pepper, citrus juice, onion, and oregano in a blender.  Blend until well pureed.  In a saucepan, heat olive oil until pretty warm and remove from heat. Carefully pour it into the orange mixture, and blend to combine. Let the marinade sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. When ready, pour over the turkey pieces (I just did this in a freezer bag).

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 500°F. Strain and transfer the chicken to a large shallow heavy baking pan (I used a 13 x 9 oval baking pan, which was a little snug), save the mojo for glazing in the last few minutes. Bake turkey 10 minutes, then add orange pieces to pan. Continue to bake until the turkey is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more, glazing the turkey with reserved mojo 5 minutes before it’s done.  For extra crispiness, crank up the oven to broil and broil for 1 or 2 minutes at the very end.