Monster Sandwiches with Celia’s Pan Cubano

We all know that one of the great pleasures of blogging comes from sharing, being inspired by fellow bloggers and getting excited by new recipe ideas.

Pan Cubano (1)

I baked the loaves late at night, sorry about the dark photo…

I’m a regular bread baker now.  My sourdough bread is made every 3 days or so, but sometimes I feel the need to shake it up and try a new recipe. A little while ago I saw a recipe over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Celia is the Queen of Sourdough and her recipe for a bread called Pan Cubano really called to me. The fact that it used Lard was probably the part which called loudest! In Southern Spain the pig is King and lard is used in many recipes. I’m in England right now but I felt nostalgic.

I didn’t use rendered pig fat in the recipe, I turned to my massive supply of goose fat which came from cooking the Christmas goose. You only need about a heaped teaspoon though, so I still have plenty leftover for delicious roast potatoes.

The bread turned out fabulously, although I didn’t get the characteristic slit in the loaf as I had no leek or palm leaves to lay down the centre of the loaf. Slitting them didn’t seem to make any difference but the flavour and texture  of the bread was incredible. Celia advised me to freeze some of the loaves if we weren’t planning on eating them all at once. Great advice as I made four loaves, each of which gave me 2 massive, builder-sized sandwiches. The sandwiches were filled with thin slices of smoked gruyere and cold twice cooked pork – amazing!

Pan Cubano (4)

Thanks Celia – for the inspiration and the amazing lunch…Go on, Be Inspired!


48 thoughts on “Monster Sandwiches with Celia’s Pan Cubano

    1. Yes, I do have lemongrass but didn’t think of using it – next time (and there has already been another next time…the next, next time will be in a couple of days)! Thanks for a great recipe….it’s a keeper 🙂

    1. It’s unusual because it uses both starter and regular yeast (a lot of yeast, which is why they go stale quickly so it’s a good idea to freeze) but it’s a wonderful way to use it and the bread is great with not really any kneading involved!

  1. I miss pan cubano….it´s what I gorge on when I go back to Miami! Maybe I should try making some…need some eggs though!
    Love that you made some sandwiches cubanos!

    1. And it’s excellent for sandwiches (as opposed to my sourdough which is better for eating with oil, cheese etc Spanish style)! Hope you’re well…you’ve been quiet for a while!

    1. I’ve got into a routine now with the sourdough every few days (just because we prefer it to the bread we can buy) but I did have to push myself a little to make something different…it was worth it!

  2. Its no WONDER my sourdough experiments didn’t work…what was I thinking! I didn’t use leeks and palm leaves!!! (err… any advice on what the heck you are using them for?!!!) aside from these sandwiches being a meat lovers dream from the bread right through to the delicious inner stuffings, they look amazing! I am intregued about how you make your sourdough. Forgive me for not scouring your back posts (sounds painful and very personal doesn’t it? 😉 ) but do you share how to make your peculiar leeky palm sourdough bread anywhere on the blog? (narf7 is lazy to a tee 😉 )

    1. Hee hee – the leeks and palms were to lay on top of the pan cubano to give it a characteristic split when cooked. Mine were split-less but delish nonetheless. My sourdough starter is just a flour/water mix (equal amounts by volume) and my loaves are just the same – good ole flour, water, salt and a splish (sometimes a splash) of my olive oil…simples! No leaves needed but I think the Bexhill air works its magic (as does the Andalucían mountain air when we’re there) as I get a fantastic rise on it and we love the flavour. You would be most welcome to scour my back posts – it might be an interesting experience for us both 😉

      1. You make it sound so easy! My first loaves were vinegar bricks that even the possums refused to eat (some peed on them though…obviously thought that they had half lives 😉 ) but I did a bit of research and discovered that I had a starter that was out of whack and was all bacteria and no yeast. I have a recipe that was developed through a blogging friendship with a lady called Joanna at “Zeb Bakes” where we collaborated on making a bread using only kefir to raise it. I used my non-dairy fully expecting more vinegar bricks but it worked! It staled up quickly though and you would pretty much have to use it fresh on the day you baked it and the rest would be best used for toast. I have since found out that you can use kombucha as a raising agent so I guess if I really wanted to bake bread I could just use my ferments but the elusive sourdough taunts me from afar. I assure you, if I made a loaf of bread out of just flour water salt and olive oil I could probably use it as a foundation stone for a new shed 😉

      2. Oh how funny about the possum pee – very sour sourdough! Do you eat regular flour? If you do, I could send you some starter. I think you can dry out sourdough starter then mail it to lovely pals (often to be found in Tasmania) and they can rehydrate it and get baking…let me know and I could try to figure out how to do it. I do use a food mixer with a dough hook as the dough is very wet at the start….but I have done it by hand too. If you have any bricks spare, we could use them to block up a hole near an outside loo we have on the hosue we’re renovating. It’s Victorian but I am sure the possum pee would make them look appropriately “distressed” 😉

  3. Our possum pee here is making our newly painted deck stairs distinctly distressed looking and I am just “distressed” by the whole thing! Its like acid! I have a food mixer that I could utilise to knead away in slave/drone mode for me whilst I spun some wool, milked a goat or dug for root vegetables (wait a minute…that was last nights dream…this is reality…) err… while I put the kettle on for a cuppa 😉 I would love to try some of your sourdough. My first (vinegar bricks) sourdough came from the mainland and was called “Herman”. My second sourdough was able to raise a loaf but I forgot about her in the bottom of the fridge and she turned into so much hooch and no more life which was sad because I had made some scrumptious chocolate, carrot and spice cakes with her (no bread though). I can’t quite get my head around the process. I think I might be suffering from overkill by haunting those esteemed sourdough bread sites where they keep talking about strange unguents and weird pans and spatulas and what the heck is a Danish dough whisk and why do I need one…”NEED” one apparently?!!!

    I get severely overwhelmed by all of the information and processes and end up trying to emulate them all which makes the process WAY too difficult to even contemplate and I hide the starter at the back of the fridge and pretend to forgedaboudit until it turns tail and croaks whereupon I feel incredibly guilty and have to give it a proper Viking funeral on the Tamar River with it’s own little alfoil ship 😦 You should have seen me when I flushed my kefir grains in Western Australia. I was inconsolable for weeks!

    By the way…people are going to talk about us if I start haunting your back catalogue so we should probably just talk about football and act all pukka like men do when they have had a shock 😉 I will sidle up to your recipes page early in the morning when no-one is looking and give it the once over 😉

    1. I have been snapping pics today of my sourdough baking process and as soon as I can figure out how to do it (drying??) I will send you some of my Moby Dick starter for you to try out! No possum pee included – guaranteed 🙂 I promise you, mine bread is easy peasy and even allows for … er… operator error such as tonight when I turned the bread out from the basket (not essential equipment though) and missed half the tray and the whole loaf went splat 😦

      Enjoy your solitary early morning meander…just don’t wear a shabby old mac or you may get hauled in by the wordpress police for suspicious behaviour!

      1. “Moby Dick” now THERE is a name to be proud of and most fitting for a large white mass that will make it’s way halfway around the world ;). I am now following Celia’s gorgeous blog and am drooling over everything that she makes. I will have to call Moby Dicks spawn something like “Earnest Hemmingway” I reckon and if it turns out at all bolshie and irrascable I can blame the sea connection 😉

        Easy peasy eh? It sounds like you are testing out my modus operandi of bread making by dumping it on the floor as a scientific experiment…obviously that is what you were doing and you certainly didn’t drop it due to any other reason 😉 . I made some bread last night without a recipe (as you do) and over proofed it and it went a bit flat on top before I baked it (and during baking) but it turned out wonderfully and is my first bread baked this year all thanks to you and Celia enthusing me all over again :). I used up some leftover mashed spud (with tonnes of butter and Italian herbs folded through it) and some chopped up jarred marinated capsicum and bumbled together a couple of sort of recipes that I sort of know sort of, and ended up with something that when cut today has the most fluffy gorgeous crumb…only problem is…I made it up! Now I find myself scrabbling for a pen and trying to remember how I did it and more importantly, how much of each thing I used!

        You can dry sourdough in a slow oven apparently or just spread it out thin on a bit of baking parchment/paper and it dries pretty quickly at room temperature and once it is crumbly dry you can whizz it in your food processor/blender and toss it into a ziploc bag.

        I do a most decent “suspicious meander” if I say so myself. Usually when I am surreptitiously attempting to liberate some plant matter that I have found (and am lusting after) in order to relocate it to Serendipity Farm…same goes for seeds. I wear my guilt on my sleeve 😉

      2. Earnest Hemingway – too funny! I will give it a go (drying out that is) but with the amount of rain we’ve had (and continue to have here) it feels like the world will never dry out 😦 I saw your amazing bread – it was wonderful and has inspired me now to just go off at a tangent and try some experimenting with my loaves. Don’t wear your guilt on your sleeve – we lapsed Catholics have enough guilt to go round for everyone else 😉 Will try to send you some R.A.I.N. as we’ve had enough of it….

      3. I will try to send you some of our heat but it keeps drying out and desicating everything I touch with it…we are like King Midus without the tasty golds 😦 Steve is a lapsed Catholic as well so you share more than just a birth year (and almost a birthday as you are a week apart 🙂 ) I will be waiting pathetically in my raincoat, my rain hat, in my galoshes with an umbrella at the gate for that rain…I wouldn’t want to miss it. Tourist buses are going to start lining up to take pictures of the “Crazy rain woman of Sidmouth” so could you please see your way to sending it soon?

  4. This sandwich looks fantastic, Tanya. I’ve been baking quite a bit of sourdough myself lately, too. Celia sent me some of her starter crystals and I’ve been baking a loaf a couple times a week. I’ve cut the recipe size, though, for I really don’t need so much bread and I’d rather not freeze it. I like the look of this pan cubano and now I need to look at that recipe. I cannot find “good” lard but I do know where I can get some goose fat. Now all I need do is get a nice piece of pork. 🙂

    1. It was so good and was nice to have something different from the sourdough just to make a change. We froze 3 of the 4 loaves (defrosting one each night to make up in the morning) and each loaf made an absolutely massive sandwich each which, I have to confess, we devoured at mid day for 4 days (4 loaves!) as we get so hungry doing such physical work, They defrosted perfectly and tasted great, so can recommend doing this.

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