This is another installment of all things British. Once upon a time Two Fat Ladies (one of my most favorite cooking shows) made a version of a shooter’s sandwich on their show. I’d been intrigued ever since. It’s a giant meaty loaf of a sandwich. I decided I needed to give this go, just to see what it’s all about. It’s supposed to be a great sandwich for picnics, given it’s size, portability, and delight. I think it’s a good thing to have around just about any time. The name derives from “shooter’s” (think fox hunt) putting this on the bottom of their bag in the morning and eating it for lunch or throughout the day.
I started with a giant steak. You can use whatever cut you like. Sirloin, rump roast, Porterhouse; they all work, you’ll just have to treat them a bit differently. You can also grab two smaller steaks if you like. Their thickness will depend on how large your loaf of bread is. I had a circular loaf of bread about 8 inches around that was vaguely sour-dough and had a very nice crust. A softer bread would probably not be a bad thing either – as mine cracked a bit around the outside. It’s only an aesthetic thing but to be sure that counts for something.
The first order of business is to cut the top off the bread, rather like you would a pumpkin, and then hollow out the inside much the same way. You should be left with the husk of a bread, as it were. The insides do make for a tasty snack; you won’t be needing it anymore so do feel free to nosh while you’re assembling this thing.
I put my steak into my homemade sous vide chamber (a cooler) and let it cook for about two hours. You needn’t do this, I just think it’s a great way to cook a steak and it guarantees tenderness. Plus, why not? It also gave me a huge quantity of time to get all the other ingredients properly sorted, not that it takes two hours but some wine was involved, so I certainly wasn’t rushing things. However you decide to cook it, season it liberally but don’t salt it until after it’s cooked.
While the steak was heating up (it’s hard to say cooking when it’s in a bag submerged in water) I started making the rest of the assemblage. I made six or seven slices of bacon in a pan over low heat, letting them brown slowly. I’m not sure exactly how many I used in total but the leftovers were eaten before I got to the assembly process. Once browned lay them out on a paper towel to cool and crisp up.
Leave the bacon grease/residue in the pan and keep the heat on. If there’s a ton of grease you can pour some off. My bacon doesn’t render a ton of fat so it’s barely oily. Lots of brown goodness at the bottom of the pan though. I cut up half an onion and a whole container of mushrooms. To be sure I had some left over after I was done, but mushrooms and onions in a wine reduction is no bad thing to have sitting in the fridge. Turn the heat up to medium-ish and add the onions to the pan. A minute or so later add the mushrooms. I used a red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan and as a basis for the “sauce” around the mushrooms. This recipe isn’t really great for “exact quantities” as such, so you’ll need to wing it a bit. I just kept slowly adding wine until it looked and smelled really nice.
As soon as it finished I trimmed it a bit and cut a piece to fit exactly in the bottom of my hollowed out bread. Juices flowing out of it, hot, and wet – just dump it in. Save the remaining steak, you’ll still need it. Add a layer of the mushrooms and onions, layer on a bunch of bacon, a few dollops of thick Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins makes a nice one) and then finally a layer of cheese. You can use almost any cheese you think you’d like. Swiss sounds really nice. Given that my other half doesn’t appreciate Swiss I went with a nicely aged Cheddar.
On top of that, you’ll need to put the rest of the steak. I was approaching the top of the bread at this point so there was less steak than the lower layer, which worked out for me because all I had left was the smaller cut. I layered the remaining bacon I had left on top and then put the little bread cap back on.
I neglected to wrap my sandwich in parchment or wax paper at this point but clearly I should have. I’d go so far as to wrap it in aluminum foil thereafter. I think it would keep things together a bit more during the next step. That next step is crushing the hell out of the sandwich. Yes, you read that correctly. Put the sandwich on a solid surface, place a cutting board on top of the sandwich, and apply weight. How much weight? I used a cooler and filled it with water, then stacked books on top of it. Around 90 pounds. For four hours. Or more. Yeah so it’s not a quick dish, that much is true. Had I wrapped it up, I’m sure it wouldn’t have cracked on the sides in places. It’s still tasty as all get out, so I’m not complaining, however.
Once it’s sat under pressure for an appropriate period you can remove and serve. If it’s not getting eaten immediately you can pop it into the fridge. It could be reheated or served cold. Either way it’s good, I’ve done both at this point and I heartily approve of both.
- One Steak – Larger Than the Size of Your Loaf (Or two smaller ones)
- 8 or 9 Inch Round Loaf of Bread
- 1/2 Onion, Diced Coarsely
- 1 Smaller Package of Mushrooms – Sliced – or 2 to 3 Portabellas Cut Up
- Thick Worcestershire Sauce to Taste
- Red or White Wine to Taste (For Mushrooms and Onion Mix)
- 6 or 7 Slices of Bacon – Fried Crispy
- Enough Cheese to Layer Inside (A Few Slices)
- Weight (For Crushing Sandwich) and Wait (Patience and Time)