There’s a little Cuban restaurant in a nearby city, or town whatever you call them in the midwest. Either way, it is quite delicious. Especially the fried plantains. There is just something about the sweet and salty that is so addicting. And to be honest, the Cuban sandwich sounded amazing, and very tempting. So instead of indulging there, I decided to try my own hand at a grain-free version of a Cuban sandwich.
Although the sandwich itself has a lot of layers and flavors, it really is quite simple to make. You have the shredded Cuban pork, cheese, pickles, mustard and something that holds it all together, in this case the plantains. I thought about doing this similar to the Reuben in a bowl, but knew that the crunchiness of the bread added a much needed layer to the sandwich and hence what I had to replicate. The plantains succeeded at this.
There is this magnitude of layers coming together in this sandwich, from the citrus of the pulled pork, to the saltiness of cheese and sour of the pickles and to top it off the sweetness of the plantains. A true explosion of flavors in one simple, easy, weeknight recipe. I don’t think I would get tired of this recipe. Honestly, I was so excited about the sandwich that I didn’t even serve it with a side. The sandwich is quite filling and holds its own, that is for sure. And the good news, if you have a picky eater in the house you can pick and choose what toppings you put on your sandwich so everyone is sure to be happy. The downside, I ‘m not sure how well plantains warm-up for a second day. They have never made it that long in our house. Although I am a huge fan of leftovers, less work and less waste equals one happy mamma. Let me know what you think about this new family favorite!
PICKING THE PERFECT PLANTAIN:
For those of you with no experience cooking with plantains here are some helpful tips. First off, at the store, plantains are located near the bananas and they look similar to bananas. Usually they are the ones that look rotten (yellow, with dark black spots or when they get really ripe they will even turn dark brown-black). Don’t worry, they taste much better than they look. You store them as you would a banana, on the counter until use. Once you are ready, peel it as you would a banana and prep it for cooking. Plantains should be cooked (or fried in coconut oil as we like them) and not eaten raw due to the starchy content. It is actually quite simple. ENJOY!
- 4 lbs pork butt
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3 limes, juiced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, cut into sections
- 1 tbsp oregano
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 2-4 ripe plantains (each makes about four rounds or enough for two sandwiches)
- Salt, to taste
- Coconut oil
- Provolone cheese
- Dill pickles
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
- Remove pork from slow cooker and shred.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil
- Mash ripe plantains and season with salt.
- Separate into four sections and form into thin patties.
- Place in sizzling hot skillet and cook until golden brown and flip.
- Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Repeat until desired number of patties are cooked through.
- MAKE SANDWICH:
- Place on plantain patty on a plate and top with meat, and cheese. Broil in the oven or melt in mircrowave.
- Add pickles, mustard and an additional plantain patty.