It’s a giant sandwich. A giant, three tiered sandwich, covered in cream cheese. Only a Cuban cookbook would have anything so enormously over the top (well, I’m sure there are other books out there with exaggerations such as this, but I wouldn’t be Cuban if I didn’t contribute to the exaggeration). I was floored when I read through the ingredients and preparations.
There was only one day worthy of this recipe – Super Bowl Sunday.
And the title of this post is not the real name of the recipe, it’s just the phonetic way to say ‘sandwich’ in Spanish – ‘sangüiche’. That’s courtesy of my friend, Lourdes, that’s always there to lend her two cents on Cubanisms.
Glad to report, as with most of the recipes, that this is not a difficult one to make. Lots of prep work can be done ahead, which I don’t ever seem to do, but if you plan properly, you can put this together in no time. The key is to make the pasticas (spreads) and the cream cheese frosting (¿Que? Don’t worry, I explain later) ahead of time, so you can layer up the sandwich and cover it before the party.
You start off by buying an uncut loaf of white bread, which has been readily available at Publix each time I’ve needed it. You cut the bread yourself into four slices, end to end, so you can build your pastica tower layers.
You mix mustard and butter and spread it on each slice of bread, kind of like a base before you put the pastica on it. I think you do this to form a kind of barrier so the pastica doesn’t make your bread soggy.
There are three pasticas in this giant sandwich –
1. Pasta de huevo (egg) – hard boiled eggs, chopped onions, salt and mayo. Note: I boiled all those eggs in the photo below because I had no clue how many you needed to chop up in order to get to 1 cup. Well, you only need 2 hard boiled eggs to make 1 cup of chopped eggs. Can I interest anyone in a hard boiled egg?
2. Pasta de jamón (ham) – ground ham, chopped pickles and mayo.
3. Pasta de pollo (chicken) – cooked shredded chicken, celery, olives and mayo.
Remember to make each one ahead of time. I’m starting to come to terms that my inability to arrive at the start of the party is because of my lack of prepping. If you like to show up with an appetizer dish around dessert time, go right ahead and do everything the same day (this recipe took me over four hours to make in one shot – we got to the Super Bowl party right in time for halftime). If you like to be on time, like I strive to do one day, prep ahead.
You layer the egg spread on the bottom layer, the ham spread next and finally the chicken spread before you top it all off with the lid of the loaf of bread.
Then, you "frost" your sandwich with cream cheese. Why, oh why, did someone have to take this just one step further and come up with the idea to frost this sandwich with cream cheese. The cream cheese frosting is a mix of cream cheese, garlic salt and a bit of milk.
How did that happen?
In my head, the ladies were sitting around in their sillones (rocking chairs) one afternoon and that’s when the one-upping began:
Marta: ¡Yo hice un sangüiche con pastica de jamón el otro día que estuvo riquísimo!Esperanza: ¿O, si? Yo hice uno de pastica de jamón y pastica de huevos. Use los huevos de El Liro. Saben que uso solamente los mejores ingredientes para mis pasticas.
Concepción: Pues, yo tuve pollo, también de El Liro, que me sobró de la noche anterior y hice una pastica que estuvo divina. Decidí hacer un sangüiche que fue como una torre – pastica de huevo, pastica de jamón y pastica de pollo. ¡Fue una delicia!
Fela: Ay por favor. Ustedes no están en nada. Yo hago ese sangüiche para todas mis fiestas. Pero lo que yo hago, viene de una idea que se me ocurrió el otro día – lo cubro todo con queso crema, como si fuera un cake. Tremenda presentación. Todos mis nietos les encantan este sangüiche gigante. ¡Es un vicio!
I’m glad they stopped there. I can’t imagine what would have happened if Elena Ruz would have shown up!