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A Peruvian Favorite: Sandwich de Jamon del pais

This one reminds me of my abuelito.

I can imagine him carefully tending to the pork, standing over the stove, gently nudging it, easing it to cook just a little bit faster. The kitchen always smelled so tantalizingly delicious. The waiting part was difficult — often two hours or more. Especially if company was coming over…and if you didn’t already know, Peruvian people are notorious for being fashionably late to any social function. If you tell them to come at 6 PM, plan for an 8 PM arrival. This is not a stereotype. It’s a Fact.

Once everyone was gathered and the preliminary greeting hugs and kisses were passed, we would all sit down and enjoy our sandwiches. And boy was it quiet. It certainly takes something monumental to hush an entire crowd of Peruvians (because, let me just tell you, we be crazy. I mean, you didn’t think that people who eat whole eggs in their soups would be normal, right?), but this always does the trick. Good thing to jot down, in the event you come across one of us at your next party.

This is one of those sandwiches that you wolf down like a rabid animal, forgetting to chew properly, or even breathe. Your eyes bulge slightly, ever so slightly, as you cannot believe the luck bestowed upon you for being given the opportunity to eat such delicacy. One more thing. You don’t share this. I turn into a selfish, egocentric toddler when I have this hoisted between my hands.

I don’t care that it’s bigger than my face, I will finish the whole thing, damnit!

I get a little possessive with my food.

Sorry.

Translated, jamón del país means country ham. It’s a traditional northern Peruvian method for cooking pork shoulder or butt over the stove, marinated in the usual suspects: garlic, oregano, paprika or achiote, and cumin. The smell alone as it simmers away can make you go googly with lust. I oftentimes find myself at the stove, just like my abuelito does, anxiously poking at the pork with my fork to see if it’s done yet.

Layer this sammich with a red onion relish, mayo, and mustard on crunchy baguette, and you got yourself a wonderful thing. Eat it up before your neighbor starts eyeing it. Quickly, now. There you go.

Sandwich de Jamón del País

Prep Time: 10 minutes to prepare marinade; 48 hours to marinate pork

Cook Time: 2 hours

Servings: 8-10

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

 

For the marinade:

1 – 5 lb. pork shoulder or butt; deboned and fat trimmed

1 T. minced garlic

2 T. salt

1 T. paprika or achiote

1 T. cumin

1 t. oregano

1 large yellow onion; quartered

2 T. salt

For the relish:

[ingredients updated 1/8/12]

1 medium red onion, cut in half and separate and use only tender inner layers, sliced extremely thin

1/2 Serrano jalapeño chile, sliced into rounds seeds and all

4 1 very juicy lime; juiced

Salt and pepper

1 French baguette; cut and halved into serving size portions

Mayonnaise, preferably homemade

Mustard

Special Equipment:

Kitchen twine

Cooking Instructions:

 

Combine the garlic, salt, paprika/achiote, cumin, and oregano together in a small bowl. Slather the pork with the marinade, covering the outside and inside with it. Tie the pork together with kitchen twine to hold together. Place the pork in a plastic bag and allow to marinate for 48 hours in the fridge.

[preparation updated 1/8/12] To prepare the red onion relish, put the sliced red onions into a small bowl and cover with cold water to soak for 30 minutes — this helps soothe the bitter bite that comes naturally with red onions. Drain and then toss in the jalapeño chiles, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and stash in fridge until ready for use.

On cooking day, place the pork in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover it entirely. Scatter the onion quarters and salt into the water; mix. Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Then, flip the pork over to the other side, allowing to simmer for another 1 hour.

Take the pork out of the water and allow to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting the twine and carving.

Slice the pork thinly and serve on toasted baguette with mayo, mustard, and red onion relish with the lime juice.

Provecho!

XO,

Steph

Stephanie - Hi Katie! Ooo, sopa criolla does sound good. I’ll see about whipping up the recipe soon! I’ll e-mail you when it’s up. Thanks so much!

Katie Ehrlich - Could you possibly do a recipe for sopa criolla? That’s one of my favorite Peruvian foods, but it’s so hard to find a good recipe.

Katie Ehrlich - You have the best blog! I used to live in Peru and I LOVED the sandwiches. I’m so excited to see a recipe for this, I’m definitely trying this soon :)

Steph - Thank you, Miss Lora! :p

Lora @cakeduchess - I love this sandwich! I wish I had one right now! Gorgeous photo.

Steph - Theresa,

LOL…lots! They love company. You’d have to try eating guinea pig, though. Are you all right with that? :-p

fooddreamer - Looks awesome and definitely something that I would wolf down in a minute flat. I love the idea that THIS is one of the few things that would shut a whole lot of lovely, crazy Peruvians up!

Island Vittles - This is insane. In a good way. I think I want to move to Peru. Know anyone I can stay with? Theresa

Steph - Lisa, you would have so much fun at a Peruvian party. Lots of yummy food, massive amounts of alcohol, and dancing until dawn. :p We definitely like to have a good time.

Steph - Sandwiches are the best! I’m actually having one right now! :p

lisaiscooking - I love a sandwich that makes you get possessive over it! And, I think I’d love to attend a Peruvian party.

Rita - Yummy! I love sandwiches!! Hubby always makes sandwiches whatever we have for dinner. He takes slices of bread and everything he can find in the fridge and voilà!! I think he’d appreciate this very much! ;)

Steph - Haha, there’s nothing better than eating a humungo sandwich, is there? :p It reminds me of that Carls Jr. commercial they used to have…something like if it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong on your face…I don’t know, now it doesn’t make sense. LOL.

maria - I too will take this sandwich (hopefully bigger than my face!) along with a roll of paper towel to wipe up my mess. This sounds amazing!

Steph - Horray! I hope it works out for you! Let me know how it goes over with zee boys. :-p

Jorie - I am going to make this and be extremely popular with my husband and his dad. Thanks! Love your writing.

Steph - Why, thank yah! And it truly is yum!

Fresh and Foodie - This looks insanely delicious!

Steph - Honestly, I’ve made this both ways, with the achiote and with the paprika. I prefer the flavor of the paprika better, myself. There are a couple of Peruvian chilis that come to mind, such as, rocoto and aji amarillo, but neither are traditionally used in this kind of recipe. Either one, though, in a paste or dried form would definitely offer a brilliant orangey-red hue to the pork. These are somewhat spicy, though, so I would use them sparingly. :-p

Steph - Leslie,

Sounds good to me! I’ve never tried cooking it with the pork tenderloin, but if you cook it in the crock pot low and slow, it should be fairly tender. Honestly, it’s the pork + marinade that really make this shine. Try it out and let me know how it turns out!! I’m excited for you! :-)

Sortachef - Oh, I do so love a good sandwich, and long-simmered pork is one of the best.
In making this truly Peruvian, I’m wondering if achiote is essential, or whether there is another alternative to paprika – a Peruvian chili, for instance – that will give this pork the right color and distinction?
Cheers on a great recipe and blog!

Leslie - I’d love to make this into a crockpot recipe. I know it wouldn’t be the same – but what do you think about using a pork tenderloin, the marinade, 48 hours etc. But then, cooking it in the crockpot? I wouldn’t use quite as much water. I would use the onion relish etc.

Steph - Thank you, thank you!

TKadia - That is one gorgeous sandwich.

Steph - Thanks, Chelsea!

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Sprinkles of Parsley - YUUUUMMMM!!!! That looks SOOO good!!! Definitely on my list of things to try.

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