Spicy gochujang pork and savory Real California Cheese strike a balance in these truly delicious sandwiches, which you can make in two ways!
I can’t imagine a household without some form of cheese or dairy in the fridge. I mean, they’re such a staple we barely pay much mind to them when we put them in our shopping carts. But the truth of the matter is that not all dairy products are created equal. When we’re at the supermarket, it’s important to be mindful of the quality of the products we buy because of course these things are what we put into our bodies, our family’s bodies. I think we have the license to be picky.
I know grocery shopping can be a little bit overwhelming at times due to all the choices that are now available, but today I’m going to share with you a little tip to make things a little easier. When buying dairy products, look for the Real California Milk and the Real California Cheese seals. It can be any brand that has a seal on it like this:
This seal is like a promise that you are purchasing top quality products made with 100% milk from Real California Dairy families. California is actually the leading producer of dairy products like milk, butter, ice cream, and certain cheeses in the USA. Here they have around 1,300 family-owned farms that have been producing dairy products for generations, so their level of expertise when it comes to caring for their cows and pastures is quite high. They probably consider the entire thing an art form already.
In Northern California, the climate provides the perfect opportunity for pasture-based grazing. Meanwhile, sunny Central and Southern California opt to use free stall barns. Cows are kept cool and provided with shade, food, and water at all times to ensure they are healthy and comfortable. This way, they can produce more and better milk. The reason I am sharing all of this to you is because I think as much as we contemplate where the products we buy end up in our diets, it’s equally important to consider where they are from and also how they are made.
Now what I love about Real California Dairy products is that they do not over-process and overly complicate things. Real California Dairy families simply aim to produce delicious, wholesome dairy products that can provide the best nutritional benefits for everyone. Packed with calcium and protein, among many others, Real California dairy products are definitely something you should choose to have in your home.
It is actually now quite easy to get these Real California Dairy products locally now. You can purchase any Real California Dairy products at shopping outlets and grocery stores such as S&R Membership Shopping, Landers Superstore, Robinson’s Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, Merkado Supermarket, and Unimart Supermarket. And remember, #LookForTheSeal!
So now that we’ve discussed why Real California Dairy products are awesome, I want to share with you a recipe I cooked up using Real California Cheese. If there’s one thing that transcends cultures and cuisines, I believe it’s a universal love for cheese. Every country uses some type of cheese one way or another in their dishes, and why not? Cheese is great. It’s amazing what you can do with it.
Today we’re making an Asian-Western fusion kind of sandwich that is packed with Real California Cheese as well as spicy Korean flavors, all housed inside some warm and toasty bread. These Cheesy Gochujang Pork Sandwiches are something you can eat any time of the day, but I prefer having them for lunch for some reason. They pack so much flavor they remind me of eating Korean BBQ dipped in melty cheese!
And yes, this recipe is also really easy to make. I will show you TWO ways you can make these Cheesy Gochujang Pork Sandwiches, but first, if you’re wondering which Real California Cheese to use for this recipe, you can use Monterey Jack or Cheddar since they are both quite melt-able. I used a combination of Raw Jalapeno Jack with the bits of bell peppers inside, plus Raw Sharp Cheddar. (Between you and me, I “accidentally” kept munching on the Pepper Jack.) You will need about 3 to 4 cups of shredded cheese.
You start by cooking the pork in a gochujang-based marinade. I used pork belly but you can use any cut of pork you like if you prefer something leaner. Just make sure to slice them up into bite-sized pieces before cooking. I completely forgot and had to cut them with kitchen scissors while cooking. I added in some onions and bell peppers to this for a flavor boost as well.
The first sandwich style is inspired by the Philly Cheesesteak. Halfway through cooking the gochujang pork, you move your meat around in your pan until they are roughly in the shape of the mini baguettes you will use for the sandwiches.
Now just divide your shredded Real California Cheese on top of the heap of meat and let it cook and melt. How much cheese you use is entirely up to you. Be generous! Once the pork is cooked and the cheese melted, just transfer the meat into your sliced baguette. (I suggest you toast them first because baguettes always get that special crunch when warm.)
Sprinkle with green onions, slice in half if desired, and serve immediately. Wrapping them in aluminum foil makes them easier to eat.
Up next we have the Grilled Cheese Sandwich style. Obviously the household favorite because who doesn’t live for grilled cheese sandwiches? Here you will have to cook your meat all the way through and remove them from the heat before you start assembling your sandwiches.
So just like any grilled cheese, you butter one side of your bread slices. Flip over and on the side without butter, layer your shredded Real California Cheese and then your cooked gochujang pork. I guess you don’t need me to remind you again to be generous with the cheese?
Now just heat up a nonstick pan and start toasting these babies until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
I like to serve these sliced in half and sprinkled with more green onions and sesame seeds.
The gochujang pork is juicy and spicy, but not too much that you get overwhelmed. The Real California Cheese adds some creamy savoriness that balances out the heat, and of course the breads help fill you up. I highly recommend eating these sandwiches with pickled jalapenos on the side for a little salty and spicy oomph.
I feel like these would make really great sandwiches to bring on outings this summer as well. You can wrap them in aluminum foil and just reheat on a grill or a toaster wherever you are. If I had to pick between these two styles of sandwiches, I feel like I would lean more on Team Grilled Cheese. What about you? 😉
Cheesy Gochujang Pork Sandwiches, Two Ways
Serves 4 to 6, depending on your appetite
- 500 grams pork belly, cut into 1/8-inch thick pieces
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- ¼ cup gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 3 small bell peppers, sliced
- 4 green onions, sliced, divided use
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 3 to 4 cups shredded Real California Monterey Jack Cheese or Cheddar Cheese, or combination
- 8 slices sandwich bread or 4 pieces mini baguettes
- Pickled sliced jalapeños, to serve
- 1. Heat up a large skillet over medium high heat. Add a little bit of oil and sauté the minced garlic and white onions until fragrant.
- 2. Add in the pork, gochujang, soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, and sesame oil. Stir around to mix everything together well. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
- 3. Add in the ginger, bell peppers, half of the green onions you’ve prepared, plus the sesame seeds. Mix well. (If you forgot to slice your pork beforehand like I did, now would be a good time to cut them into bite-sized pieces.)
If making a Philly Cheesesteak-Style Sandwich
- 4A. Cook the pork until halfway cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Portion your meat in your skillet into 4 oblongs roughly the same shape and size as your baguettes. Divide the cheese and sprinkle on top of the meat, then let it cook, undisturbed, about 5 minutes or so more. The cheese should be melted and the meat should be cooked through.
- 5A. Meanwhile, slice 4 baguettes in half but keep the long side intact. (Some people like to hollow out the baguettes just a little bit so it will “catch” the meat.) Once the pork is ready, place each portion on the prepared baguettes. Sprinkle with the remaining green onions. Serve immediately.
If making Grilled Cheese-Style Sandwiches
- 4B. Cook pork for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked and juicy. Take out from the heat and prepare your bread for the grilled cheese. Butter one side of your sandwich breads. Then on the unbuttered side, layer shredded cheese and pork gochujang. Cover with another slice of bread with its buttered side facing up.
- 5B. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, then place prepared sandwich into the skillet. Allow to toast until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Using two spatulas, flip and allow the other side to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cheese has melted. Repeat until all grilled cheese sandwiches have been cooked. (As you go along, you might notice the sandwiches browning faster before the cheese has melted. Lower your heat to adjust.) Serve immediately.
Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) in the Philippines, but all opinions stated above are my own.