Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shredded Cuban Pork (Slow Cooker)

Hmmmmm, what is THAT?

Here, let me zoom out a bit for you...

Hey, that kind of looks like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich!?!

Yep, it kind of IS a really fancy grilled cheese sandwich but it's so much more...

Shredded Cuban Pork (you can see the citrus zest in there... so much flavor!)

I make this really flavorful pork in my slow cooker (Crock Pot) and then shred it.  I keep making this intending to eat it myself; I think it would be great on top of a baked sweet potato.  I still haven't gotten around to trying that; I keep making these sandwiches for the guys. 

There is a sandwich called a "Cuban" that originated in Florida.  The sandwich is typically made with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread.  This is my version.

Cuban Shredded Pork (Slow Cooker)
1 pork tenderloin or boneless pork loin filet (1 3/4 to 2 pounds)
1 lime for zest and juice
1 orange for zest and juice
2 medium to large sized garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. 

Place the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper, in a small bowl; stir to mix.  Place the pork on a cutting board and trim away any fat and/or silver skin using a sharp knife.  Sprinkle the spice mixture over pork, covering all sides.  Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker.

Using a fine grater (such as a Microplane grater), zest the lime and the orange and sprinkle the zest over the pork in the slow cooker.  Cut the lime and the orange in half and squeeze all of the juice from the lime and juice into the slow cooker.  Finely grate the garlic cloves and sprinkle over the pork as well.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on the LOW setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with two forks.  Reserve about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and pour it over the shredded pork.  The pork seems to soak it up for even more flavor.

To make into a sandwich, you are basically building a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.  Butter (or use margarine) two slices of bread (I used Russian Rye from Oroweat) and build the sandwich in the following order:

  • 1 slice of bread, buttered side down
  • 1 or 1 1/2 slices of Swiss cheese (I use Sargento Ultra Thin Swiss cheese)
  • shredded pork
  • pickle slices (dill pickles are great but they guys in this house like Famous Dave's "Devil's Spit" pickles)
  • another 1 or 1 1/2 slices of Swiss cheese
  • slice of bread, buttered side up
Cook sandwich in a skillet, just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich, until both sides are nicely browned.  Alternatively, you can grill the sandwich in a panini pan.

Cuban sandwiches are traditionally made with dill pickles.  The guys here asked that I used the pickles you see above.  Initially when you try these pickles, they taste like sweet bread and butter pickles.  But LOOK OUT! These pickles pack a punch.  I tried a few on an empty stomach before I had dinner.  Mistake.  BIG mistake!  They are very hot and spicy.  I love the name of these pickles and also the artwork on the jar. 

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