Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Southwest Steak Sammich

Mmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about this. It's super tasty! (Of course it is, otherwise I wouldn't post it.) Not surprisingly, it's also made with our old friend the guajillo. I think of the guajillo as the Hugely Underrated Actor of the chile world. Think Jeff Daniels, John C. Reilly, or Bill Pullman, or whoever else you think is awesome but not nearly as famous as they should be. That's the guajillo. I think I've mentioned before that I think it's going to explode on the scene in a big way, though. Pace has come up with a salsa that uses them. However, I've been told it's not as good as mine. No surprise there. They really should have consulted me for advice first. No surprise there, either, though; nobody ever listens to me.

Anyway, let's get this Sammich show on the road, shall we?

This came about as a result of one of those happy accidents. I was experimenting at work, trying to come up with I-don't-know-what; something. I ended up with a sort of salsa. It wasn't bad by itself, but not good enough to use solely as a salsa. It needed some support. So I had this idea that I'd marinate some steak in it overnight and make sort of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Which I did, and it was excellent. The original was just the marinated steak, onions, mushrooms, mayo, and mozzarella on a hoagie bun, but with some input from some of my coworkers, it evolved slightly into what it is today. You're going to love it, trust me. There is a little bit of prep involved, namely the marinade, so it's not like you can just throw this together in ten minutes, but it's super easy to do, and you can make up the marinade in bulk and freeze it, and once that step is out of the way, it will take about 10 minutes to do! I've only tried this with steak, but I'm sure it will go well with any other meat, and maybe even tofu, if you're the vegetablearian type.

On to the marinade!

I do have a recipe for this, just not with me right now, and even though I know you don't need one because you've been reading this blog and you know that recipes are for jerks, I'll come back and post it in a day or two anyway. If I don't forget.

But for now...

bunch of guajillos, stemmed
brown sugar
lime juice

That's it! Just chop them up roughly and cover with a couple inches of water. The chopping part isn't exactly necessary, I just do it so they'll sit better in the pan- Guajillos are kind of long and tend to stick out of the water in all sorts of different directions if you leave them whole. Add a couple pinches of salt, a small handful of brown sugar, and the juice of one or two limes. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved it should have sort of a raisin-y taste to it. Adjust as necessary. Then just cook until you think it's done. I usually reduce it by about half. Next, blend it in your blender, or in the pot with your handy-dandy immersion blender. (If you don't have one of those things, you need one. Trust me.) Sometimes at this point, I'll throw in a jalapeno or two, but it's your sammich today- make it however you like! Now your marinade is done! Make sure it's cooled down (actually, you might want to do that before you add it to the blender- could end up with a big mess, otherwise.) and add the protein. This stuff goes a looooong way, though- 2 Tbs will easily cover a pound of meat. Let it marinate overnight, or at least 6 hours, and then gather up the following players-

Hoagie bun
colby-jack cheese
chipotle mayo
anything else you think would go good on a Philly-style sandwich

First off, about the chipotle mayo- I'm sure they sell commercial stuff, but I wouldn't waste my money. It's too easy to make on your own (not to mention most likely cheaper) using your favorite regular mayo and a can of chipotle peppers. Simply take one can of chipotles in adobo sauce and add to 4 cups regular mayo. You can chop up the peppers by hand with a knife and then add to the mayo, or just blend the whole thing in a food processor. I'd avoid using a blender- it can easily break down the mayo into oil. At least, that's what happens to us at work. Then again, our blender only has two speeds- super fast, and supersonic. I'd still avoid the blender. Also, I found a recipe for chipotle mayo from scratch awhile back, but haven't gotten around to trying it yet, so I won't post it here right now, but it might be worth looking into. A quick search on the Food Network's website should turn something up. Even if you don't want to bother with all that, just using a good quality regular mayo, mixed with the chipotles is really, really good. I used to really not like the flavor of chipotle at all, until The Amigos at work started making this stuff and one day just for the heck of it I tried it. Now I love the stuff.

Break out the fry pan, melt some butter, add the steak and veggies and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until done. (Normally I don't like well-done steak, but in this case med-rare doesn't seem to cut it for some reason.) Toast your bread, slather on the chipotle mayo, add the meat and veggies and cover liberally with cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Then pop the whole thing in a hot oven for a few minutes to melt said cheese. Alternately, you can just add the cheese to the steak/veggies mix while it's in the fry pan. We do that a lot at work, and it works well. Except we cook ours on a flat-top, not in the fry pan, but you get the idea.

It's quite messy, so have plenty of napkins handy.

I kind of like to eat mine with a knife and fork. However you choose to do it, I think you'll agree...

this one rises far above the level of "sandwich".

Truly, once you've had this one, you've had yourself a Sammich.

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