Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

When I was in college, Bennigan’s was one of our frequent dinner spots. For one, there was a Bennigan’s in each of the malls where we shopped the most. For another, we were all pretty broke, and the food was relatively cheap.

There were also these Monte Cristo sandwiches.

monte cristo

Our friend Sarah swore they were delicious, but Leah and I were hard to convince. The sandwich itself is basic turkey, ham, and cheese on white bread. The special part is that it’s battered and fried, then dusted with powdered sugar. Bennigan’s serves the sandwich with a sauce made of raspberry preserves.

For the longest time, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to eat. I couldn’t quite place it, but it just sounded all wrong. Too many flavors going on. Raspberry jam  and a turkey sandwich? I was definitely not on board. (It didn’t help that Sarah had tried to recreate this “treat” in our school cafeteria with some collection of french toast, turkey, and generic grape jelly). Finally, somehow, she convinced us to try it, and we had to admit we were wrong. It’s delicious.

It really is.

I use pancake mix for the batter, and deep fry a turkey, ham, and cheese sandwich, like I said. We use good quality raspberry preserves for the dipping sauce. The sandwich is a great blend of salty and sweet, which I enjoy. One thing I never seem to remember is that half a sandwich is really enough for anyone, so we always end up with too many. The recipe below tastes exactly like the Bennigan’s original. With it being deep-fried, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this as an all-the-time thing, but it’s grate for a treat, and definitely worth the trouble.

Deep Fried Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Serves 4

  • 4 slices of white sandwich bread (you want the slices that are a bit longer than your standard wonder bread square–more rectangle shaped)
  • 4 oz deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 4 oz deli ham, sliced thin
  • 4 slices medium cheddar cheese
  • Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves, for dipping
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 1 cup pancake batter, prepared according to package directions (I use a Just-Add-Water mix, and it works just fine)

1. Heat your cooking oil in a deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot. When the surface starts to shimmer, add a couple of drops of the pancake batter. If it bubbles and starts to brown at the edges, the oil is ready–if it sinks to the bottom, wait a few minutes longer and try again.

2. While the oil is heating, assemble the sandwiches. I made each sandwich with 2 ounces of turkey, 2 ounces of ham, and 2 slices of cheese. You want to assemble the sandwiches so that the cheese  is closest to the bread slices, which will help the sandwich stay together when you fry it. Cut each sandwich in half along a diagonal.

3. Dip each sandwich half in the prepared pancake batter, turning to coat. It will be thick–that’s okay. Carefully drop each sandwich into the deep fryer or prepared oil to fry.  Sandwiches will float as they fry, and take about 6 or 7 minutes to fry completely. Be sure to turn them once about halfway through, so that both sides get golden brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and sprinkle the hot sandwiches with powdered sugar. Serve with warmed raspberry preserves on the side for dipping.

Pear Butter (and a panini!)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Now from what I understand, this farmer’s market is a much bigger event during the summer, when it takes place outside, and we were there for one of the last weeks inside. No matter. We had a good time and picked up several tasty treats. One of those treats was a jar of Pear Butter from Seedling.

I’d never even heard of Pear Butter, but of course there were samples, and the samples were quite convincing, so we picked up a jar. If you’ve never had Pear Butter (or Apple Butter) for that matter, the term propbably requires some explaination.

According to Wikipedia, Apple Butter is a highly concentrated applesauce, made by cooking apples so long and slow that the sugars in the apples carmelize. Despite being called Apple “Butter,” there’s no butter, cream, or dairy of any kind involved. And the final product isn’t anything like butter, really. It’s more of a jam-like spread (though not quite as thick). We use it to spread on toast, mostly. The caramelization gives the apple butter a unique sweet taste. David, who favors apple jelly almost exclusively, likes apple butter a lot. His favorite use is to slather it on a toasted english muffin.

This Pear Butter was similar to Apple Butter—it had the same unique sweetness, but the pears gave it a little something special. I have been very happy to have it around.

The one other place I’ve seen apple butter at work is, oddly enough, in college. The dining hall made a surprisingly delicious sandwich with turkey, dill harvati, and apple butter. It sounds strange, I know, but the sanwhich was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. I decided to use the same flavors to make a panini using roasted turkey, leftover harvati cheese from our fancy Macaroni & Four Cheese, and of course, our new Pear Butter.

Pear Butter, Turkey, & Harvati Panini

For each sandwiches:

  • Two slices of good quality bread (We like this sourdough)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter or pear butter
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced roasted turkey (from the deli)
  • 2 ounces harvati cheese, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Preheat a panini pan and press over medium high heat.

2. Spread one slice of bread with the mayonnaise. Top with one layer of cheese, followed by turkey, and then another layer of cheese, in that order. Spread the remaining slice of bread with apple or pear butter to complete the sandwich. .

3. Spread the outside of the sandwich (both slices of bread) with butter.

4. Place in panini pan and top with press. The sandwich is done when the bread is crisp all around and the cheese is melted all the way through. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Note: I wouldn’t say these sandwhiches were perfect, but if I had the ingredients laying around again, I’d definitely try to perfect it. They were quite tasty as it was. The two differences were the use of sourdough instead of plain, from a bag, sliced wheat bread (I’d say the sourdough was probably an improvement), and using regular harvati instead of a dill-flavored harvati (this could have made the sandwhich better).