America, our royalty is under attack from within. Earlier this month, their highness Beyoncé & Jay Z decided to celebrate the 5th year anniversary of God proving his eternal love for us through their union by going on nice, relaxing vacation. No big deal, right?
Wrong. That trip happened to be to Havana, Cuba, which apparently is like illegal or something. For those of you who haven’t kept up with the news for the past 53 years, the United States has this embargo against Cuba, meaning our citizens are forbidden from travelling there due to our disagreements with their oppressive Communist government.
But I mean, come on y’all, these laws were enacted like, forever ago. Our nation was still in a pre-Beyoncé mindset. No one could have fathomed the magnitude of human that would come into our world. (In fact, shouldn’t we just amend the Constitution to reflect this change in our cultural landscape? Call it the Beyoncé clause.)
Besides, Jayoncé (Beyonc-Jé?) merely did what hundreds of less important Americans do each year, getting their Cuban beach vacay approved by the Treasury Department under the guise of “cultural exchange” and “person-to-person outreach.” (Or, in this case, Beyoncé-to-person outreach.) You see, the mere existence of these two in presence of other living beings constitutes a humanitarian act.
Of course, conservative politicians couldn’t help themselves from making a big to do of the whole incident- the most prominent of the bunch being Florida Senator and infamous water drinker Marco Rubio, who called the trip “propaganda” and used it to make broader criticisms of the Obama administration’s increasingly lax enforcement of the embargo. Jay fought back at the h8rz with a fiery rap, Open Letter, and Beyoncé was just like, “I am Beyoncé.”
The Senator then doubled down on his attacks, calling Jay an uninformed hypocrite to David Gregory on Meet the Press. (Way to keep it gangster, Rube.)
Annnd not to be left out, fellow rapper (for lack of a better word) Pitbull decided it was his turn to chime in on the issue, coming to the defense of the couple by intelligently pointing out the inherent flaws of the embargo from a policy standpoint because unilateral sanctions have never proven to be an effective foreign policy strategy in our nation’s history. (JK- he just rapped about how it’s all racist and was like “you guys are my best friends!!!” and Beyoncé was like “Who is Pitbull?” and then he went back to pouring Mountain Dew on strippers.)
Moral of the story: haters gon’ hate; everyone needs to just chill out and mind their own Bey’s-wax. Beyoncé went to Cuba because she wanted to, and she is Beyoncé.
In honor of Bey & Hov’s controversial vacay, I’ve decided to roast some pork loin and make Cuban sandwiches out of it. The traditional Cuban sandwich, of course, goes like this: roast pork, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, and mustard. Absolutely delicious.
However, I have to make a confession: I don’t really like pickles. I mean, I don’t hate them, there’s just something about them that rubs me the wrong way, so I decided to do something different. I made my own sweet pepper relish. To me, that’s what turns this into the best Cuban sandwich, and possibly one of the best sandwiches, that I’ve ever had. Honest to Beyoncé, I would not lie to you. Making your own pickled relish is simple:
First, you just dice up some sweet peppers, roasted red peppers, and cucumber (that’s the pickly part of this relish).
Transfer them to a bowl, and add the pickling liquid. (In this case- red wine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar).
Then you just let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. That’s it- you just pickled! Congrats.
While that’s pickling, let’s get the pork roasting. This is a very simple roast pork loin recipe and it’s heavenly. Actually, you might just want to make this pork on its own, and use leftovers for sandwiches the next day.
You start by seasoning it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss is in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then you’ll mix dijon mustard, honey, and rosemary together. Mmm…
Take the pork out of the oven, and just start brushing it on…
Turn up the heat to 400 degrees and toss it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. This will create a lovely mustard crust on the pork.
Like I said, this is enough of a meal right here. But if you want to go ahead and make the sandwiches (which you totally do), the rest is pretty easy. Here’s the order of operations: bread, pork, prosciutto (I’m using this instead of ham, just personal preference), relish, cheese, bread. Pop it in a panini press (or in the oven wrapped in foil). Serve with extra relish on the side, you’ll want it.
Cuban Sandwiches with Prosciutto and Sweet Pepper Relish
1 medium cucumber, diced
1/4 lb sweet peppers, diced
4 larges pieces of roasted red pepper from a jar, diced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 lb boneless pork loin
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
For the rest of the sandwich
12 slices prosciutto
12 slices swiss cheese
6 sandwich rolls
Combine cucumber and peppers in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour the liquid into the cucumber and peppers and stir to combine. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pat the pork dry and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and put in on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine mustard, honey, and rosemary in a bowl. After the pork has cooked for 30 minutes, pull it out and brush the mustard mixture over it. Turn the heat in your oven up to 400 degrees and toss the roast back in for another 30 minutes. Pull the pork out and let it rest ten for ten minutes before slicing it.
To assemble the sandwiches, start with a layer of pork, then a layer of prosciutto, then a healthy serving of relish, and finish it off with the cheese (this will seal it all together.
Serve with extra relish on the side.
Transfer to panini press for about 10 minutes until the bread has browned and the cheese has melted. You can also cover the sandwiches in foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.