My family loves sandwich suppers. But at my house a supper sandwich isn't just two pieces of bread with a piece of lunchmeat in between.
There's a difference between a lunch sandwich and a sandwich supper. And the difference is in the attention paid to each element vs. the assembly-line slapping together of sandwich ingredients.
It's the specially selected bread or rolls and the delicate combining of ingredients. OK, I am romanticizing here, but this week's recipe for hot chicken subs is a sandwich supper extraordinaire. It's a recipe I came up with when I had few ingredients in the house, and it has been a hit with my family for years.
At the center of my hot chicken sub is a marinated chicken breast. Dale's marinade, available in the steak-sauce section of most supermarkets, has long been our favorite beef marinade, but it's a delicious replacement for teriyaki with chicken, too.
The marinated chicken is seared on both sides in a hot skillet. The pan is covered, and the chicken cooks through. Pan-searing replaces the grill, while giving the chicken a nice browning on both sides. Unlike sauteing, which involves fairly continual stirring, pan-searing means leaving your chicken breasts alone and letting them sear on one side, then flipping them over and giving them a sear on the other side.
While the chicken cooks, French rolls are split, brushed with melted butter and toasted. This step is essential for sandwich suppers and greatly improves any sandwich that's served on rolls. From hamburgers to sloppy Joes to cheesesteak, taking the time to butter and toast the rolls will bring the sandwich to a different level. And watching fat grams is no excuse to skip this step, since fat-free margarine spray or butter flavored Pam can be used in place of melted butter or margarine.
The toasted rolls are then spread with mayonnaise (light is preferred at my house) and topped with slices of sharp Cheddar cheese. The sandwiches are sliced and served with sliced fresh carrots and chips.
4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
4 teaspoons Dale's marinade
4 6-inch French rolls
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, optional
4 ounces sliced Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
Place the chicken and the marinade in a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag. Squeeze to coat the chicken pieces with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken breasts. (Discard marinade and bag.) Cook the chicken breasts on one side for 4 minutes, without moving. Turn and cook on other side 4 minutes. Turn again, cover and cook 5 minutes more, until cooked through. (Internal temperature when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer should be 160 degrees.)
Meanwhile, split the rolls in half and brush with the melted butter. Toast or broil until lightly browned. Spread with the mayonnaise and top with a chicken breast, slices of cheese and the roll top. Slice in half and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrient analysis provided by registered dietitians of the Augusta District Dietetic Association. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karin Calloway is the online chef for Viking Range Corp. (www.vikingrange.com) and a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. You can write her in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to email@example.com.