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Center Stage: Cinnamon Chili Pork, Sweet Potato and Avocado Panini with Shared Appetite

Chris Cockren of Shared Appetite is a food lover, blogger, music teacher, husband and New York City resident. He created his blog to share his culinary adventures both in his kitchen and dining out with his wife and official recipe tester, Asheley. Chris can usually be found eating dessert, but he’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

I love panini.  Paninis?

Yeah, I actually had to look this one up… and apparently either way is correct. According to my vast and thorough research on the interwebs (i.e. a quick Google search), a singular pressed sandwich can be either panino or panini. Multiple pressed beauties can be called panini or paninis. Phew… you’re welcome. #nowyouknow

And guys, more importantly, I finally got my hands on a panini press thanks to Hamilton Beach. I can’t wait to make all sorts of goodness on this thing. Killer grilled cheese. Countless panini flavor combinations. Heck, I even heard you can easily make perfectly crisp bacon on the thing as well.

I’m trying really hard to eat a bit healthier lately. Asheley (my wife) and I have our first child on the way. And as much as I would truly love to do the whole “sympathy weight” thing, I want to be the healthiest I can be before sleep deprivation sets in and forces me into bad decision-making with regards to eating.

But here’s the deal. The only way I can succeed at eating better is when I can still look forward to the meal I’m about to eat. That means food that’s BIG on flavor. Food like this Cinnamon Chili Pork, Sweet Potato, and Avocado Panini.

Let’s break this panini down, shall we?

I’m using a multi-grain baguette (but any crusty bread will work). I scooped out a bit of the inside, giving me more room for the fillings… because really, it’s all about the fillings.

First comes that roasted sweet potato, which is one of my favorite healthy-but-tastes-not-healthy foods.

Next comes a light sprinkling of cheese. Now, if you are already looking like one of those young fashion models in the mirror, feel free to go heavier on the cheese sprinkling. Personally, I look like I ate said model.

Here’s the important part. Next has to come the mashed avocado, which will be the “glue” that will allow the pork to stick on top.

And that ground pork will be your crowning jewel, which got the royal flavor treatment with a big hit of ancho chili powder, cinnamon and other spices.

Then the fun part. Throw it (and by throw I mean very carefully place it, of course) onto your preheated panini press, close the hood and patiently wait for your sandwich to transform into a perfectly pressed, hot and crusty panini.

Oohhhhhhh man. All the different bold flavors and varied textures in this. And with a drizzle of sriracha? Heck to the yes.

The only question I have left?  What am I going to make next on my Hamilton Beach Panini Press?!

Center Stage: Cinnamon Chili Pork, Sweet Potato, and Avocado Panini with Shared Appetite for Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

Cinnamon Chili Pork, Sweet Potato and Avocado Panini

Yield: Serves 4
Author: By Chris Cockren of Shared Appetite

Ingredients

For the panini

  • Multigrain baguette or other crusty bread
  • Cinnamon Chili Pork (see below)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 avocados. mashed
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, optional

For the Cinnamon Chili Pork

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place finely chopped sweet potato on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season generously with Kosher salt. Toss to coat. Roast in oven until sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the Cinnamon Chili Pork. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground pork and cook, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to break the meat into crumbles, until cooked through and browned. Season generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add ancho chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder and water. Stir to combine, scraping up any flavorful browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, and let cook until sauce thickens to coat the pork. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Cut baguette into four equal slices. Halve baguette and use your fingers to scoop out a bit of the insides, allowing more room for the fillings.
  4. Spoon a layer of the roasted sweet potatoes on the bottom of each baguette. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and mashed avocado. Carefully spoon cinnamon chili pork on top, pressing slightly into the avocado to allow it to “stick”. Place top of each baguette over the pork and place sandwiches on preheated panini press.
  5. Allow panini to cook until hot and crusty. Remove and devour with sriracha or other hot sauce, if desired.

Pile bread up with your favorite meat, cheese and veggies, and create a satisfying meal in one easy press. The Hamilton Beach® Panini Press lets you grill hot, delicious sandwiches of any thickness, thanks to a floating lid that expertly presses down onto sandwiches and leaves appetizing grill marks behind. Hamilton Beach® Panini Presses are perfect for anyone who needs a fast, easy meal that satisfies any taste. That’s the kind of versatility everyone needs in the kitchen.

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