Italian-American Cuban & Chips

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“Multicultural Sandwich; Out-of-world Flavor. Chips not pictured.”

I HATE leftovers normally, but this dish is something I can look forward to. In fact, I would even buy someone else’s leftovers if it meant making this crispy meaty bistro-styled sandwich. It is that time of year once again: St. Patrick’s Day.

*Fun Fact!!! Corned beef and cabbage is NOT traditionally Irish by origin. Corned beef is more commonly associated with American-Irish culture.

Due to the nonperishable nature of the corned beef, it was a staple in the 17th century. Later in the 19th century, corned beef was considered a luxury in Ireland, but was considerably cheaper in the United States where it became an alternative to bacon. Irish-Americans in the U.S. during the 19th century are solely responsible for corned beef and cabbage recipes well loved today.

The Irish are indeed masters of leftovers. Shepard’s pie is traditionally made from leftover lamb meat after all. I think that given the rich culture surrounding the Irish, leftovers and corned beef, it is appropriate to use leftover corned beef in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day for this awesome sandwich.

What You’ll Need
*This recipe is per sandwich, and is with the assumption that you have leftover corned beef*
• 1/4″ slice of leftover corned beef
• 1 – 2 slices deli ham (sliced for sandwiches)
• 1 Slice Swiss cheese (1/8″ thick-ish)
• 2 – 3 Dill pickle wedges
• Mustard to taste
• Mayonnaise to taste
• 2 Slices sourdough bread
• Salt and Pepper flavored kettle chips
• Sour cream (for dipping the chips)

Tools You’ll Need
1 Panini Press (you can also use a pan, but you’ll need to add some butter to make sure the sandwich doesn’t stick)
1 Plate? I guess? I dunno. We eat these fresh off the press. They are that good.

* BEFORE COOKING… SOME PRO TIPS!!!*
*PRO TIP #1*
If you are using a press, that is the best way to crisp the bread. If you don’t have a panini press on hand, that’s ok but you’ll need to take extra steps to crisp the bread while melting the cheese. If you are using a pan or skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and place BOTH slices of bread directly on the pan. On one side, place the mustard, mayo, pickles and cheese and on the other place the ham and corned beef. Cook them in the same pan on a low heat.

*PRO TIP #2*
Since this is using leftover corned beef, you’ll want to preheat the corned beef in the microwave or a pan beforehand. Even with a press, cold corned beef won’t heat up in the time it takes to crisp the bread. Preheat the beef to ensure a nice hot sandwich.

*PRO TIP #3*
I like plain-ole-mustard with my corned beef, but feel free to experiment. Dijon or brown mustard will work just as well as regular mustard.

*PRO TIP #4*
When you preheat the leftover beef in a microwave, be sure to place a cup (microwave-safe of course) with water in while you reheat it. This will prevent the corned beef from being dry.

What to Do
1. Reheat the leftover corned beef in a microwave. This will take 30 seconds up to 1 minute. It doesn’t need to be super hot, but it does need to be at least room temperature.
2. Set out ALL your ingredients, and start to build your sandwich. For best results, layer the sandwich like this: top bread piece (crown), mustard, mayo, pickles, cheese, ham, corned beef and bottom bread piece (foot). If you are using a skillet or pan, refer to the tips above.
3. If you are using a pan, melt 1 tbsp butter in a nonstick pan, and place each sandwich half directly on the pan over a medium heat. If you are using a press, simply assemble your sandwich and place on the heated press.
4. If using a pan, wait until the cheese starts to “wilt” and then flip one of the sides on top of the other; this will take around 3 – 5 minutes. If using a press, wait around 5 minutes (checking regularly) until the cheese starts to melt.
5. Once the cheese is either wilted or melted (depending on your cooking device) cook for an additional minute and remove from heat and use a serrated knife to cut the sandwich in half.
6. Serve with kettle chips and sour cream on the side.

CRUNCH into that cross-culture sandwich, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

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