Torta Cubana is a traditional Mexican sandwich that often comes with a variety of different meats ranging from simple slices of jamón and roasted pork like carnitas to chorizo or carne asada.
Despite the fact that Mexico is more well-known for other vessels for fillings like tacos, burritos and fajitas, Torta Cubana is a really popular Mexican dish.
Put quite simply, Torta Cubana is a big, meaty beast of a sandwich!
The variety and amounts of meats included in a typical Torta Cubana is entirely dependent on where it is being made and the preferences of the chef.
Torta Cubana should not be confused for the Cuban sandwich, however. The Cuban sandwich combines roasted pork with cheese, mustard, and pickles. These two sandwiches are not related, they have nothing in common except their similar names.
Origin Of Torta Cubana
There are several stories on how torta Cubana originated. Yet, the most accepted is the story of a cantina cook in the 1950s on Calle Republica de Cuba in Mexico City.
The cantina was just a few blocks away from the National Palace and the cook began stuffing tortas with every ingredient they had.
And guess what, people liked it! The sandwich gradually became a hit and its popularity spread throughout the city. Hence, the Mexicans decided to keep the name of this mouth-watering sandwich for the street where it was invented.
Adding to the legend of torta Cubana is that the sandwich got its name because Mexican men described Cuban ladies as “having everything” – elegance, beauty, and intelligence.
Likewise, Torta Cubanas also have “everything on” since it is heavily stuffed with lots of ingredients such as meat, cheese and veggies.
The usual time for preparing the torta Cubana is around 5 minutes. Meanwhile, the cooking time usually takes 15 minutes. It takes a total of 20 minutes to prepare this sandwich. That is quite a small amount of time to sacrifice in exchange for this scrumptious sandwich.
- Unsalted butter - 3 tbsp
- Sandwich roll sliced lengthwise down the middle - 1
- Carnitas - ½ cup
- Ham - 1 to 2 slices
- American-style cheddar cheese - 2 slices
- Refried beans - 3-4 tbsp
- Avocado, mashed or sliced - ½
- Chipotle Powder - 1/2 tsp
- Sour Cream or Mexican-style Crema - 1/4 cup
- Pickled jalapeño peppers - 3 pieces
- Take a large nonstick skillet. Lightly grease it and set over medium-high heat.
- Spread the butter on both slices of bread. Afterward, put both slices face-down on the skillet. Wait until the slices are crisp and golden brown. Then, flip and repeat. Remove and set aside on a clean work surface.
- Lower the heat to medium. Then, add the carnitas and ham to the skillet to warm. Wait for a few minutes then flip it. Take the cheese slices and lay them on top of the ham.
- This step is for making the optional crema/mayonnaise. Take the spread of your choice and add ½ teaspoon chipotle powder into the spread. Season it with salt to taste.
- If you choose to have the crema, spread it, followed by the refried beans, onto the slices of bread. Afterward, arrange the avocado on the bottom slice of bread.
- If the cheese has melted onto the ham, put the carnitas to the base slice of the bread. The carnitas must be on top of the avocado slices.
- Put the ham and cheese after the carnitas. Top with the second slice of bread. If you chose to opt-in with the pickled jalapeño peppers, serve those along with the sandwich.
Photo credit: Jose Nicdao