Cuban Sandwiches and Oregon Pinot for Springtime

Try this pork belly version of the classic, from Portland's Bunk Sandwiches, with one of these 11 great Pinot Noirs
Mar 30, 2012

If you're hosting a houseful this spring, shake it up a bit this year, leaving the big bone-in ham behind in favor of a platter of crisp, hearty and juicy Cuban sandwiches, in which cured and roasted pork belly stands in for pork shoulder. Bunk Sandwiches of Portland, Ore., whose co-owner Tommy Habetz is an alum of Mario Batali's and Bobby Flay's kitchens, shared this recipe, which Habetz described as, "the Buena Vista Social Club hosting a party in your mouth." You'll need to start the belly cure a few days ahead, and then roast the pork belly the day before, or very early the day of your gathering. Round out the table with cubed avocados, a salad of spring greens and toasted walnuts, and sliced fresh tropical fruits.

As for wine, Habetz suggests Oregon Pinot Noir. The wine's soft, refined tannins, subtle fruit and open structure won't overwhelm the delicate flavor of the cheese and ham, and those same qualities will help the wine play well with the pickles, mustard and hot sauce on the sandwiches. See below for a list of recently rated Oregon Pinots.

Bunk Sandwiches' Pork Belly Cubano

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

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:
• 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

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.


Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.

SHEA Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 2009 Score: 94 | $40
Supple, rich and complex, layering its dark berry, black cherry, pink grapefruit and exotic spice flavors on a velvety frame. The finish lingering effortlessly. Drink now through 2019. 3,555 cases made.—H.S.

ELK COVE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2009 Score: 91 | $27
This fresh red is inviting and invigorating for its juicy black currant, plum and white pepper flavors, playing with zest against polished tannins and lively acidity. Drink now through 2019. 14,000 cases made.—H.S.

EVENING LAND Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2009 Score: 91 | $25
A strong mineral note weaves through the beautifully modulated berry and peach skin character, while the finish lingers with impressive intensity. Offers deft balance and a distinctive flavor profile. Drink now through 2016. 3,770 cases made.—H.S.

MAYASARA Pinot Noir McMinnville Jamsheed 2009 Score: 91 | $25
Offers density, richness and depth without much weight, weaving earthy, spicy notes through the dark blueberry and plum flavors, lingering softly. Drink now through 2017. 9,000 cases made.—H.S.

CHEHALEM Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 3 Vineyard 2009 Score: 90 | $27
Light and silky, dancing delicately over refined tannins and lively acidity to show red berry, cinnamon and clove flavors as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2017. 7,600 cases made.—H.S.

ST. INNOCENT Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Villages Cuvée 2009 Score: 90 | $24
Fresh and vibrant, this lovely mouthful of dark berry, cedar and gentle spices lingers against refined tannins. Drink now through 2014. 2,661 cases made.—H.S.

BRIDGEVIEW Pinot Noir Oregon Blue Moon 2009 Score: 89 | $20
Velvety, round and plush, with a ripe range of blackberry, Italian plum and spice flavors playing out against refined tannins, finishing with length and integrity. Drink now through 2015. 12,000 cases made.—H.S.

KING ESTATE Pinot Noir Oregon Signature Collection 2010 Score: 89 | $27
Sleek and sinewy, with vivid raspberry, strawberry and watermelon flavors that snake enticingly through the lithe, open structure. Finishes on a savory note. Drink now through 2016. 25,000 cases made.—H.S.

ACROBAT Pinot Noir Oregon 2010 Score: 88 | $20
Light in structure, with a stony edge to the dark berry flavors, floating through a wide-open texture and lingering nicely. Drink now through 2016. 31,000 cases made.—H.S.

CASTLE ROCK Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2010 Score: 87 | $13
A light, silky and inviting red, displaying red berry and spice flavors that float serenely over refined tannins. The finish lingers enticingly. Drink now through 2013. 9,200 cases made.—H.S.

WINE BY JOE Pinot Noir Oregon 2009 Score: 87 | $19
Polished in texture, with a candied edge to the tea, orange peel and red berry flavors. Toasty finish. Drink now through 2014. 7,000 cases made.—H.S.

Cooking Holidays / Celebrations Easter Spring Red Wines Pinot Noir Recipes

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