Friday, January 20, 2017

The Cuban Sandwich – Hold the Mojo

I don’t do a lot of sandwich videos, which is a shame, since the blog posts are pretty easy to write. Anyway, as promised during the last bread video, here’s how I like to build a Cuban, or Cubano sandwich.

From the early, non-troll feedback, I hear we did a pretty good job, except apparently I was supposed to serve some mojo sauce as a condiment. We did a beef mojo, which would not be great in this, but I don’t think we’ve ever filmed the sauce. Consider it on the list.

Slices of citrus-roasted pork seem to be very common in the sandwich, but I prefer more of a pulled pork. I used our paper pork recipe, which was great, but carnitas, generously moistened with some of its own fat, would also work quite well. 

I've always assumed that day-old bread was perfect for grilled sandwiches, but I've heard that real Cubans are made on fresh bread, and that people who use stale are crazy. What say you? Regardless of how fresh your bread is, I really hope you give this Cuban sandwich a try soon. Enjoy!

There are no amounts given, since you are the Mark of your Cuban, and fully capable of deciding how much “stuff” to use. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cuban Bread – Commence Operation Cubano Sandwich

I didn’t think I liked Cuban sandwiches, and even went so far as to publicly call them overrated, but it turns out I was eating them on the wrong bread. 

You can’t just use any old sandwich roll, and this fact was lost on me until I had one on the real deal. Shortly after finishing, I recanted every negative comment I’d previously made.

By the way, if you’ve never heard of a Cuban sandwich, stay tuned, because that will be the star of our next video. If you want to get a head start, besides practicing the bread, you’ll need some type of roasted, or pulled pork; and I’m happy to report we have many recipes that would work, including our famous paper pork, pulled pork, or carnitas.

One thing that makes this bread unique, besides the addition of lard, is the double-hit of yeast. We use dry yeast to start the dough, as usual, but also add a starter that we let ferment overnight. I assume that’s to provide a little extra flavor, as well as a some additional lift, but I didn’t want to do too much research, since I do enjoy a little mystery with these types of things.

Traditionally, some of the starter is saved, with a little fresh water and flour added, and kept in the fridge to make more bread. Not a bad idea, otherwise you can probably just add all of it to the dough. You’ll probably need a bit more flour, but as I stressed in the video, we’re going to be feeling for that anyway. So, stay tuned for the Cubano sandwich video, and in the meantime, I really hope you give this bread a try soon. Enjoy!

For the starter:
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
- mix well and refrigerate overnight

For the dough:
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
- mix and let stand 15 minutes
- add starter from day before (reserve 1/4 cup if you want to keep your starter going), plus:
3 tablespoons lard
2 teaspoons fine salt
about 3 cups flour, or as needed (I used 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
and 1 1/2 cups bread flour)
water to spray tops of loaves

Monday, January 16, 2017

Next Up: A Very Special Bread

Another long, holiday weekend has come and gone; and so another Tuesday video won't be posted until Wednesday. Hopefully it will be worth the brief wait. Stay tuned! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pâté de Campagne – Finally, Something Complicated

Every once in a while, I get a food wish that has nothing to do with a specific recipe, but rather it’s a request to post something complicated, and challenging to do. Well, this country-style pâté is about as close as we’re going to get.

Calling this recipe complicated is sort of a stretch; "involved” would probably be more accurate. There are many steps, and the ingredient list isn’t short, but none of the techniques are very difficult, or particularly time-consuming.

Coarsely grinding the meat is probably the most crucial step, but as you saw, if the meat is very cold, the attachment on your stand mixer will do an adequate job. If you don’t have one, you can pulse on and off in a food processor, and as long as your meat was partially frozen, this will work.

Another option is just to place your meat order with a real butcher, and ask them to coarsely grind it all together for you, after which you can simply process the rest of your ingredients, and add them to your already ground meat and fat. Speaking of fat, I used some chopped up bacon, but virtually any kind of pork fat will work. 

If you do use bacon, either in the pâté, or to wrap with, I suggest using one that’s lightly smoked, so as not to overpower the rest of the flavors. Anyway, I realize this may seem like quite a production, but if you enjoy charcuterie, this would make for a very fun, beautiful, and quite delicious project. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one Pâté de Campagne (16 portions):
1 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka “pork butt”), cut into one-inch cubes
6 ounces duck leg meat (meat removed from 2 or 3 legs)
4 ounces fatty bacon, chopped
4 ounces chicken livers, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
25 grams kosher salt (about 5 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon “instacure” pink curing salt
3/4 teaspoon *pate spice mix
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
8-10 sliced of bacon, or a few sheets of caul fat to line the **mold

* For the Pâté Spice:
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

** My bread pan was a little smaller than standard, but a regular 9 x 5 inch loaf pan should work perfectly here.

-- Cook in water bath at 350 F. until internal temp of 155 F.