Monday, December 29, 2014

The Art of the Christmas Sandwiches

If you've known me long enough then you know that I have an affinity for the holidays and, more specifically, the food. Even more specific are the leftovers of Thanksgiving and Christmas which provide the ingredients for the seasonal Christmas Sandwiches (or Holiday Sandwiches if you prefer). Christmas Sandwiches are turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy packed into a dinner roll but there's a lot more that goes into it. As is the error with common sandwich shops or burger joints, you can't just throw a bunch of random stuff together and expect a complete synergy of deliciousness. There's an art about creating the perfect sandwich and today, my friends, I will break down the Christmas Sandwich for you.

Step 1) The Rolls: I've had a lot of problems with holiday dinner rolls over the years with the main problem being that they generally just suck. Really. It's hard to find a good dinner roll. Thankfully the roll doesn't make or break the sandwich so we can be liberal about what we choose. For this demonstration I'm creating a "Christmas Sandwich Sampler" plate with four different rolls as follows:

Four different rolls will give us four distinctly different sandwiches

2) Butter the Rolls: Cut the roll in half and then use butter or margarine or whatever imitation dairy product you prefer and spread it on the interior of BOTH SIDES. Even if you have the dullest, lamest, most disgusting dinner rolls, adding a thin layer of butter will help provide extra flavor.

Just like with mayo, you don't want to be too generous with the butter, otherwise it's just disgusting

3) The Main Ingredients: Obviously you'll need the main staples of a gourmet holiday dinner. I like to try and split the plate into thirds and use an even amount of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. Then top everything with gravy. It should look like a traditional "day after" meal:

You'll find it challenging not to dig right in following the reheat, but be patient

4) Heating Up and Prep: Microwave your leftovers until everything is hot. Note: the potatoes heat up slower than the turkey and stuffing, so be sure to mix them with a fork during microwaving to speed up the process and keep things even. When everything is good to go, you should have a presentation that looks something like this:

If you think this is gonna be too much food then just think of them as sliders

5) Stuffing the Sandwich: This is the tricky part. Some people have no respect for proper layering or technique which is a big no-no. If you slap all the stuff into the roll like you're working at Quiznos then your sandwich is gonna taste like a regurgitated tissue, and I don't think you want that. It's important to first start with the turkey. The protein ALWAYS goes on the bottom. Top that with the stuffing and THEN use the mashed potatoes as a paste to keep everything in place. Feel free to top with a little more gravy and then put in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (to heat up the bread and melt the butter):

Your sandwiches should look something like this following assembly. Note the layering

6) Closing the Sandwich: If you refer back to the image for step 2, notice that I didn't cut the rolls all the way through. This is a personal choice as when I close the sandwich up I like the idea of being able to gently pack all the ingredients in. Another option is to cut them all the way through and then top the sandwich as if it were a burger. It's entirely up to you.

Christmas Sandwich Sampler

7) Other Options: Sometimes I top the goods with a little cranberry sauce which is entirely up to you. I've also heard of putting in sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and even pumpkin pie. Again, it's whatever you want, but I prefer to stick with traditional ingredients. Once your sandwich is stuff it:

With a thin layer of cranberry sauce

Hey, I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you wanna get the most of your sandwiches then it's always important to approach them with a plan. These sandwiches, like all of the others I made this holiday season, were absolutely stunning and delicious. Give it a try. 

Happy Holidays!