Earlier this month, as soon as nightfall started coming sooner and the hibernating instinct starting kicking in, I brought out the crockpot. Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to be creative in the kitchen. Okay, let’s be honest here. It’s always a struggle for me as I grew up eating a pretty predictable (yet healthy) meal every night: meat, rice and beans. It’s the typical Caribbean dish and my mother’s food is delish. At least that’s the excuse I give myself when looking at my pantry as I try to calm my nerves in having to come up with a meal. #truestory
That’s why I love Campbell’s Sauces. With only 5 minutes of prep time, I can set my crockpot in the morning and not stress about dinner time. And, there are six varieties of Campbell’s Sauces: Tavern Style Pot Roast, Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork, Beef Stew, Southern BBQ, Sweet Korean BBQ, Hawaiian Pork, so you’re sure to please all the picky palates in your bunch.
Before using the Campbell’s Sauces, I had used my crockpot very minimally. Always during the fall or winter, but never more than 10 times in a season. This is my second crockpot meal this month and I honestly don’t know why I haven’t made a habit of using it more frequently. I often struggle with having tender meat (too much heat can make meat tough and hard to chew). Slow cooking turns even the least expensive cut of meat into delicious and impressive goodness.
Last week we tried the Campbell’s Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork sauce. And, because I’m only human, I forgot to look at the weight of the pork shoulder at the grocery store. The Campbell’s Sauces packet calls for 2-3lbs. I had mistakenly bought one twice that size. Whoops. And, I had already poured the packet onto the pork in the crockpot, so I couldn’t start over. Double whoops. When I went back to my supermarket, naturally, the Hawaiian Pork packets were out of stock, so we improvised with an 8oz packet of citrus mango skillet sauce for chicken, and an 8oz can of pineapple tidbits. Lesson learned: make sure you look at how many pounds of meat the packet calls for, or you could end up with more meat than the sauce can reasonably season.
We added the pineapple chunks with the syrup it came in to the mix and wished for success. Thankfully, it was a huge hit with B and the friends that came over! We paired it with steamed rice and blanched string beans. People went back for seconds and
there was hardly any left before I sat down to share it with you on the blog I ate almost all the leftovers by myself. Really, it was THAT good. Luckily I spared a teenie extra bit, and I thought, could I make a Cuban sandwich with the leftovers?
Notice how little Hawaiian pork and pineapple tidbits are left over on that one little plate.^
Cubanos, or Cuban sandwiches, are pretty simple to make. With the exception of the Cuban bread, I had all of the ingredients already in my fridge. I don’t have a panini maker or press so I made do with two cast iron skillets: one to heat and one press down the sandwich and make all the delicious cheese melt inside and marry all the flavors together.
At first I thought I’d be making committing culinary sacrilege by not having the traditional pork shoulder for the Cuban sandwich, but Campbell’s Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork sauce really came through for me on this lunch fare. Note to self: never ever ever try to photograph food for a blog post on an empty stomach!
It was as delicious, if not more delicious, than some Cuban sandwiches I’ve had while living in Florida. Normally, some restaurants’ Cuban sandwiches have pork that is dry. With all of the juices of my crockpot pork, there was absolutely no dryness.
Cuban Sandwich with a Tropical Twist
Adapted from Chowhound's Cuban Sandwich recipe
- Campbell's Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork sauce
- 8 ounces pineapple tidbits with juices
- 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt
salt and pepper
- 1 lb loaf Cuban bread or Italian
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise optional
- 8 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham I used honey ham lunch meat
- 8 ounces thinly sliced roasted pork loin
- 8 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 4 whole dill pickles thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 stick, melted
Place the boneless pork shoulder in crockpot. Using a steak knife, stab the pork shoulder to allow seasonings easy access to flavor the pork.
Open packet Campbell's Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork sauce and pour over pork.
Open pineapple tidbits and pour over pork and sauce mixture.
Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours, or until pork shreds easily with a fork.
Remove pork shoulder from crockpot and shred using two forks. Place shredded pork back into crockpot with the leftover sauce and keep on the WARM setting until ready to serve dinner.
Refrigerate leftovers for Cuban sandwich.
Cut the loaf of bread in half horizontally and open it up like a book.
Spread the mayonnaise, if using, on the bottom piece of bread.
Evenly place the ham and roasted pork on top of the mayonnaise. Evenly arrange the cheese and pickles on the meat.
Spread the mustard on the top piece of bread and close the sandwich. Press gently on the top to compact the sandwich slightly. Cut it in half crosswise; set both halves aside.
Lay 2 (20-inch-long) sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Brush half of the melted butter on the tops of the sandwiches. Place each sandwich butter-side down on the sheets of foil. Brush the bottoms of the sandwiches with the remaining butter. Fold the foil around the sandwiches to completely encase them.
Heat a large frying pan on low heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Place 1 wrapped sandwich in the pan. Place a cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven, or heavy pot on the sandwich, push down on the skillet or pot to further compact the cubano, and cook undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Remove the skillet or pot (careful: It may be hot). Flip the sandwich and place the skillet or pot back on top of it. Cook undisturbed until the cheese has melted and the sandwich is warmed through, about 10 minutes more. Move to the oven and repeat with the second sandwich. When both are ready, remove the foil, cut into pieces, and serve.
Did you know that Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces are not only great for every day meals but they are awesome for game day gathering with friends? Meals with Campbell’s Slow Cooker sauces are delicious and so easy to make. Just 5 minutes of prep time is all it takes. Take the Game Day Great, Every Day Easy Challenge and experience it for yourself.