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Dining Tip: Pork Belly Cuban Sandwich

A hearty, tasty match for Pinot Noir

Posted: February 18, 2013

Recipe courtesy of chef Tommy Habetz, Bunk Sandwiches, Portland, Ore.

For the pork belly:
• 1 cup kosher salt
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
• 1 teaspoon each ground fennel seed, nutmeg, chile flakes
• 1 1/2 pound pork belly slab
• 1 tablespoon molasses

For the sandwiches:
• 4 8-inch long French bread rolls, sliced lengthwise
• 1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
• 1 cup yellow mustard
• Mexican hot sauce to taste
• 8 slices Swiss or medium-sharp cheddar cheese
• Pork belly, from above
• 1/2 pound smoked ham, thinly sliced
• 4 kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the pork belly:
1. In a bowl, stir together the salt, sugar, garlic, fennel, nutmeg and chile flakes. Coat the pork belly with the mixture and rub it in gently. Wrap the belly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for three days.

2. Preheat the oven to 275° F.

3. Brush the excess spice mixture from the belly, then brush the belly with the molasses. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 3 to 4 hours, until tender. If the belly starts to get too dark, cover it in foil. Take it out of the oven and let it rest, then cut into 2-ounce slices.

For the sandwiches:
1. Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each bread roll. Spread the mustard liberally over both sides. Season the bread with hot sauce to taste. Divide the cheese slices among the bread rolls. Add a few slices of pork belly to each sandwich. Add the ham and pickles, then close each sandwich and brush melted butter on the outside of each roll.

2. Heat a panini press or griddle. Add the sandwiches to the press and cook over moderate heat until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

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