Cubano Bread Boxes

This is a whole new way to love the classic Cubano sandwich. Instead of smashing it in a press, all the familiar ingredients are layered in clever homemade bread boxes, and then baked until crisp and melty. Don't worry about slow roasting pork -- we used boneless pork chops that cook up in minutes. Or you can even swap in leftover roast pork.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

1 loaf unsliced white bread (preferably Pullman), about 10-inches long

6 tablespoons unsalted butter 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 slices Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons canola oil

Four 1/2-inch boneless center-cut pork chops (about 6 ounces each) 

32 dill pickle chips

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

8 thin slices deli ham

Directions

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Remove 1/4 inch of the crust from the ends of the loaf, then cut the loaf crosswise into 4 even pieces. Use a fork to score one cut end and gently dig a square hole into each piece of bread to make a box, leaving a 1/2-inch layer of bread around the walls and bottom (see Cook's Note). Save the removed crumbs for another use. 
  3. Microwave the butter and a large pinch of salt in a small microwave-safe bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Brush the bread boxes inside and out with the melted butter. Put 1 slice of cheese at the bottom of each bread box. Put the boxes open-side up on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese melts and the inside of the bread is lightly browned and crispy in parts, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the pork chops and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Rest for 5 minutes then slice thinly against the grain.
  5. Layer each bread box with 4 dill pickle chips, a quarter of the sliced pork, 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard, 4 more dill pickle chips, 2 slices deli ham and top with 1 additional slice of cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melts, about 5 minutes. Serve whole or cut in half.

Cook’s Note

Don't worry if you accidentally make a hole at the bottom of the bread when carving out the boxes -- just fill the hole with a loose piece of bread.

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