Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Patty Melt

The lowly Patty Melt, so simple yet so delicious. And I will add it is a fantastic remedy to "what am I gonna make for dinner when I don't want to cook?"

It started with the Sunday night, I'm hungry but not really in the cooking mood, don't want to go to the store or call for pizza, let's look in the fridge and see what happens. I found about 1/2 pound of ground chuck, some onions, mushrooms, swiss cheese and some of the whole grain Italian loaf bread I had cut up earlier to make stuffing for Thanksgiving. Now what?

I pulled out the old griddle. I divided the ground chuck into 2 equal lumps and formed them to the oblong shape of the bread. Whatever kind of bread you have available is perfectly fine, it can be slightly stale as you are going to toast it. I seasoned the meat with salt and my spicy pepper mix (see earlier post) put them on the griddle on medium high heat and cooked them until they were medium well, then put them on a plate covered to keep warm. Then I sliced up the onions and mushrooms then sauteed them in about 1 TBLS each of olive oil and butter. You know you can NOT make a Patty Melt without butter! After the onions and mushrooms where soft, I thought they needed a little body, so I sprinkled on about 2 TBLS of flour and made a light roux. Then I poured about half a Bourbon Barrel beer into the mixture and let it thicken. Now you do not have to use beer, you could use broth of any kind or just water or you could just leave the onion and mushroom mixture alone and not thicken it, but if you use a beer then someone will have to drink what's left. When the onions and mushrooms were thickened I removed them from the griddle, wiped it down and got ready to assemble the Patty Melts.

Place a couple of slices of swiss cheese on one slice of bread, then place the beef patty on on top of the cheese and cover it with half of the mushroom/onion mixture. Smear some spicy brown mustard on the other piece of bread and place (mustard down) on top of the cheese. Repeat for the second sandwich. Melt 2 TBLS butter in the griddle on medium heat. Place the sandwiches on the griddle and place a weight on top, this makes your Patty Melt nice and flat and easy to eat. I used a plate and weighted it down with an iron skillet. Cook 2 - 4 minutes until golden brown, turn over and repeat for the other side. Now enjoy your masterpiece.

There are many variations and ways to embellish this simple sandwich. A lot depends on what's in your fridge. You know I'm always looking for ways to use up those little bits of leftovers. Ground turkey would be fine. You can use bell peppers and/or hot peppers if you have them. After I was finished I wished I had thrown some jalapenos in the mix. A chutney would be interesting as a topping. Leave out the mustard, add ketchup or both. Sun-dried tomatoes or a chopped chipotle in adobo would add a little kick. Chop some garlic. Any flavor cheese would be yum. If you have an electric Panini maker/griddle use it. The possibilities are endless

P.S. I did make a small mixed greens salad to go along with our Patty Melts, that made me feel better about the butter!