Pork Roast Sandwich

A couple years ago when I still watched Oprah sporadically, probably my favourite episode was when her best friend Gayle scoured the land for America’s Best Sandwich. She sourced such a variety of sandwiches from restaurants spread across the wallet-draining spectrum.

A really good sandwich is something to celebrate. I still remember my first BLT, made by my friend Andrea Pollard’s mother on her birthday. And how it always made my day to open my paper bag lunch at school and find a hamburger sandwich with ketchup. Mmm Mmm! Then there was my ‘dainty sandwich’ phase with thinly sliced cumber and pepper. And Aunty Anne (not a ‘real’ Aunty) introduced me to the stinky-breath combo that probably was my childhood favourite: raw onion and mayo.

Oh man, I could go on and on about pleasant sandwich encounters, but I will desist.

Back to Oprah and HER Sandwiches. I cannot recall if it was the same America’s Best Sandwich show or a follow-up the next day, but Oprah featured a Sandwich Showdown where 3 chefs each had a viewer assist them in a sandwich-making competition. Our very own Aussie Curtis Stone was one of the chefs; sadly he did not win.

The winning sandwich was chef Tyler Florence’s Ron-Trey (named for her husband and son) Entrée Pork Roast Sandwich. And what the judge said about this sandwich stayed stuck in my mind… ‘the blue team did what every perfect sandwich—and, indeed, every dish—should do. It had something tangy, it had something spicy, it had something rich but something sweet and something tart with the cranberries. It was very comforting. It was satisfying.”
So THAT there is our secret equation, folks. Thank me later!

I made the Ron-Trey Entrée Pork Roast Sandwich last year for our small group, and everyone went back for seconds; some for thirds.
Today for some reason, with all the kids home sick, I made it again on impulse!

Here is how it goes! (The full recipe without my meanders is down the very bottom. )

This recipe feeds 4 so feel free to double….I do.

All up, you need:

4 large crusty bread rolls
4 slices Taleggio cheese (It is a mild semi soft cheese. I couldn’t find it, so I used Havarti; Google a suitable substitute if you don’t have it on hand!)
1 clove garlic
1 pound boneless pork shoulder (I used an approx 2.5 kg pork shoulder roast)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 sliced onion
4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup hard apple cider
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

For the Cranberry-Onion Jam
1/2 onion , sliced
3 Tbsp. dried cranberries
2 sprigs thyme
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. apple juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Sweet Potato Chips Fried with Garlic and Sage
1 head of garlic
1 bunch of sage
2 large sweet potatoes
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying
Sea salt

Begin with the shoulder of pork. You are supposed to cut the roast into 1-inch-thick slices and tie with kitchen twine into circular shapes. For some reason I didn’t read this nugget of information!!!! Hence I worked with a massive slab of pork. You are also supposed to cook the pork in a pressure cooker. Who has a pressure cooker these days? My Mom used to, I guess back in the 80’s. I don’t have one, so I put the pork shoulder in my trusty slow cooker. You need to let a slab the size I used, slow cook for at least 7 hours so it is fall-apart tender. I cut out the browning stage of the recipe, simply threw in all the ingredients (up to the balsmic vinegar) and turned that baby on!

Much later, with the rich aroma of cider-soaked pork assailing our nostrils, we made
Cranberry-Onion Jam.

Chopped up the onion and cranberies.
Caramelized the onions in oil.
Added the cranberries and sage. Added the wet ingredients, brought to a boil and then simmered on a lower heat at least 10 minutes till the sauce thickened and the elements were really soft. I added extra apple juice and reduced the jam two more times, and it was still nice and tart.

Next the chips. I did not slice the chips thinly (as you can see above), nor did I use sweet potato. I sliced up regular potatoes sideways. I was also a little skeptical of the sage and garlic infused oil actually working.
But it did! I chucked the head of garlic and the bunch of sage into the saucepan of oil. Heated it on high until the sage started to really cook, and then removed them both. And the oil definitely smelt of sage, and maybe a little of garlic.

Solo Girl and I then started slipping the potato slices in and turning them till crisp.

These chips were yummy, but I recommend following the recipe to the T, regarding the thin slicing. Our chips would have had that extra crunch if WE had.

So once all the componenets were ready, it was assembly time.
I sliced the pork up into hamburger-sized chunks seeing as I hadn’t read the recipe……

We cut open the buns, rubbed garlic on the bottom inside of each and laid slices of cheese on the top inside. Under the grill they went till crisp and the cheese was melted.

Added a hunk of pork on each bun, topped with the cranberry-onion jam, followed by the cheese-laden bun lid. Adorned each plate with the chips. Feast!!!

Solo Girl plated artistically.

Full recipe directions to follow after the PS!

PS: They may have taken nearly a whole hour to make, not including baking time, (learning to go through the process of reading and carrying out a recipe by yourself can take time) but Solo Girl’s banana chocolate chip muffins were certainly worth the wait. They were truly sweet enough to be cupcakes I think.

Ron-Trey Entrée Pork Roast Sandwich

Directions: Begin with the pot roast. Cut into 1-inch-thick slices and tie with kitchen twine into circular shapes. Season the pork in hot oil in the base of a pressure cooker. Add the onion, bay leaf and thyme. Brown for 1 minute, then add juice, cider and balsamic. Cover with lid, lock it and pressure cook for 20 minutes until tender.Cut buns in half. Lay slices of cheese on the top halves and brown under the broiler until crispy and cheese has melted. Toast the bottom halves, then rub with a garlic clove.To assemble, lay a slice of the pot roast on the base. Top with Cranberry-Onion Jam and garnish with a fried sage leaf.

Directions For the Cranberry-Onion Jam

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add a 2-count of olive oil. Add onions and caramelize—about 4 to 5 minutes. Add cranberries, then thyme and balsamic and juice. Simmer for 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy and the onions and cranberries have just started to fall apart. Season with salt and pepper.

Directions For the Sweet Potato Chips Fried with Garlic and Sage

Take a large pot and set over medium heat. Add garlic and sage and bring the oil up to 375°. As the oil heats up, the sage and garlic will infuse the oil. Remove garlic and sage and set aside. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave thin chips out of the sweet potato. Rinse in cold water, drain and fry in oil until crispy. Drain and season with sea salt.


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