“Make me a sandwich.”
“Poof! You’re a sandwich.”
You want jokes? I got ‘em. You want funny jokes? Try back next week.
Josh and I have been trying this radical new thing: “making our own lunches and taking them to work.” Innovative right?
You see, I work on a college campus that happens to be nicely situated amongst the city’s downtown area. I am surrounded by restaurants of all kinds–Indian buffets, sandwich places, Mediterranean joints, sushi places, pizza delivery, milkshake delivery and the best soup-shack this side of Heaven. It is, needless to say, very difficult for me to ignore all of that and eat a lunch I packed. If I packed. Hey, sometimes I’m too
lazy busy to remember little details like that. But the down side of this genuine first-world problem of having lots of restaurants nearby is that it’s expensive to eat out all the time for lunch and frankly, eventually it gets boring.
Josh has a different problem. He has no restaurants really nearby, at least not ones he can/will eat at regularly. If he wants to go out, he has to order in or get in his car and go and sometimes with the parking situation around here, that’s not always possible. So bringing a lunch really saves him a lot of time and grief.
So with that all in mind, we returned once again to trying to pack lunches (and breakfasts) for the week, doing as much prep as possible over the weekend so that on weekday mornings, we can just “grab and go” for the most part. I’ll expound more on that whole thing another time. The important thing here is the food. Last week we did batches of cheesy chicken stew and beef chili. I decided this week would be the Week of Awesome Sandwiches.
Generally when we take sandwiches to work, they’re pretty basic. PB&J. Turkey or ham and cheese. Apple and peanut butter. Whatever. Good, adequate, but not like an awesome sandwich that I just want to nomnomnom all day long. This week I planned out some sandwiches with the goal of really making us look forward to lunchtime.
Today’s was roasted chicken with leek confit. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Protip: adding the word “confit” to any dish automatically makes it sound fancy, pretentious and expensive. So keep that in your back pocket for when you want to simultaneously impress and annoy people. Anyway, this makes for a very different, very onion-y sandwich. If you are a fan of alliums, this is the spread for you.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]What’s “confit” anyway?
Confit is a French term for food preserved in some sort of substance. It could be fruits cooked in sugar, meats (like duck) cooked in their own fat, etc. Confits can last for months sealed and stored in a cool place.[/box]
This sandwich requires:
- Bread. (This ain’t no KFC double-down kind of tragedy.) I used soft ciabatta rolls but any good, thicker bread will do. Try to aim beyond standard white sandwich bread and go for a roll, thick Italian bread slices, baguette, etc.
- Whole grain mustard
- Spinach, arugula or your other favorite sandwich green. Avoid iceberg. It’s crunchy but other than that brings nothing to this splendid table.
- A good, soft cheese. I used provolone because it’s got flavor but not enough to be too competitive with the star of this show, the leek confit.
- Roasted chicken. I roasted a couple of chicken breasts and sliced them; you could pull the meat off a rotisserie chicken if you preferred. You could also substitute turkey.
- Leek confit (recipe below)
- Optional: for a juicier sandwich, add a good drizzle of oil and herbs
[toggle title_open=”Working with Leeks” title_closed=”Working w/ Leeks (click to open)” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Leeks are a member of the onion and garlic family, and they have a soft, delicate onion flavor. You can eat the white part and a bit of the light green stalk.
They form as basically a bundle of sheaths. They are grown in sandy soil and can hold quite a bit of dirt and sand within their layers, so you want to wash them thoroughly.
When cooking with them, I like to cut off the bottom of the leek, and then the stalk, and discard any tattered outer layers of the base. Slice the leek in half lengthwise. Then dice it as fine as you wish. I like to put the chopped leeks in a colander and immerse that colander in a large bowl of cold water, swishing the leeks around a bit in it, so that the sand and dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl.Then drain the leeks and use. Extra tip: they work marvelously in mac & cheese!
- 2 lbs leeks
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 6 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsps olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Dice, wash and pat the leeks dry.
- Smash the garlic cloves and remove the paper.
- Place the leeks and smashed garlic cloves in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Place dollops of the butter around the dish. Drizzle the leeks with 1 tbsp of olive oil and the salt and pepper.
- Roast the leeks in the oven for 1 hour or until soft and browned, stirring occasionally.
- When they are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool slightly. Scoop the mixture into a blender or food processor. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and blend until the mixture becomes a slightly thick paste.
- Serve hot on whatever you like, or spoon the mixture into a jar or container with a good tight lid and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.