Quick Eats: Cuban Quesadillas

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Thursdays are my day. My NO day. The day of the week I set aside for me, when I decline the social invitations, pass on the gym, and come home to veg on the floor of my apartment, watching and tweeting along with my favorite shows (yes, I’m one of those).  

TGIT.

And its on those days that I don’t need to be spending hours cooking, or cleaning up a sinkful of dirty dishes. 

It’s the kind of day when I need the easiest of dinners.  No muss, no fuss, no mess and done in 20 minutes, tops.  Yeah, we all need those dinners, even if you’re not obsessive about primetime TV.

Oh. I got one! This one!

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A quesadilla.  A Cuban quesadilla!

**While some would question Florida’s categorization as a member of the true south (since all those snowbirds are in fact, displaced northerners…my family included), it is the geographical south, so I’m putting it in that box.  Just felt I needed to disclaim that.  Not sure why.**

Anyway, my Cuban quesadilla is a nod to the famous sandwich born in the Florida Keys, crafted for early immigrants yearning for a taste of home. It’s popularity spread to the mainland, and it’s been sort of a staple down in Miami ever since.  Despite having grown up in Miami, I hadn’t had one until college.  Pity, that. 

The ingredients are simple:  boiled ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, roast pork, topped with simple yellow mustard and enveloped in a freshly baked roll.

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After doing some reading, it seems that in Miami, Cuban sandwiches are made with a very particular type of bread- one that contains lard rather than butter or oil- and cannot be found in Chicago, try as local bakers may to recreate the perfect loaf.  I thought about making it myself, but sometimes authenticity must bow to 1) what’s in season 2) what’s in my kitchen 3) what I want to eat. This is real life people, and one can only eat so much bread without piles of shame and regret.  Plus, bready things coming at you next week, so a tortilla substitute would have to do.  Don’t be too mad about it. I promise, it’s still good.

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Besides the tortilla swap, I also substituted the Swiss for some Havarti. Not so much a Swiss cheese fan, personally. The rest of the ingredients remained the same, and made for a dinner that was cooked and cleaned up before the Bones bells tolled.

Cuban Quesadilla
Serves 2
Classic Cuban Sandwich, turned quesadilla
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Total Time
20 hr
Total Time
20 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  2. 1 lime, juiced (about 2 TB)
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
  6. 2 thin sliced pork chops
  7. 4 corn tortillas
  8. 4 deli slices Swiss (or Havarti) cheese
  9. 4 deli slices boiled or glazed ham
  10. 6 thin slices of dill pickles
  11. 2 thin cut pork chops
  12. yellow mustard, to drizzle
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and make a paste. Rub on each side of the pork chops. Place on the cookie sheet and cook under the broiler, 6 minutes on the first side, 4 on the second until the chop is cooked all the way through (these are thin cut, so it shouldn’t take long). Set aside.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the pan and one slice of cheese on one side of the tortilla, followed by a slice of ham, 3 slices of pickles, one pork chop, another slice of ham, and finally the second layer of cheese. Top with a second tortilla.
  4. Cook the quesadilla, pressing down lightly with a spatula or a heavy frying pan until the one side is golden brown, crispy and the cheese and melted. Carefully flip the quesadilla and repeat until that side is golden brown and crispy. Drizzle with yellow mustard and serve hot.
Notes
  1. Want to stick to the original? Sub out a roll for the tortillas.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

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