Posted by: A Part of the Solution | February 7, 2012

Special Sandwiches

Sandwiches and soups go well together. The twosome become a powerhouse meal fit to feed the hungry on a cold day if only a little time and care are taken. I’ve blogged lots of soup recipes. But I don’t find I’ve written as much on the subject of sandwiches. Maybe I’m confident in the world at large knowing how to make a palatable sandwich. Maybe everyone else’s special sandwich spectrum is different than mine. Maybe. But I do make a few acclaimed sandwiches.

  • Pinto Bean Spread on Whole Wheat or Corn Tortilla with Pickled Jalapenos and Shredded Lettuce or Wilted Lambsquarters

Pinto Bean Spread

1 can pinto beans, or 1/2 pound dry (soaked 8 hours, simmered with a bay leaf 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours–depending on freshness)

1/2 cup pecans, toasted in a 350° oven for 6-8 minutes, shaken twice as they toast

2 jalapenos, or 1 cherry bomb, or 1 corno di toro or a mini-bell–any of these seeded and chopped very finely

4 cloves garlic mashed with 1/2 tsp of salt

1 TBSP tomato paste, or 2 TBSP spicy salsa

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp cumin, you may briefly toast this stove-top in a dry cast iron skillet to bring the flavor to perfection

2-5 TBSP good quality olive oil (the larger volume makes this a dip and not a spread)

Place all of the above in a food processor or blender and run the motor until you have a fairly uniform spread. This will keep in the fridge for about five days.


  • Open-Face Broiled Cheese Sandwiches on Whole Wheat

Cheese Topping for Broiled Open-Face Sandwiches

1 cup, 4 oz, grated flavorful cheese (like Gouda or Sharp cheddar, or a mixture of the tag end of as many little cheesy bits as you have in your fridge drawer)

1 small onion, 2 oz, grated

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp (or to taste) cayenne

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Set an oven rack to the top third of the oven. Turn the broiler function on. Place 5-6 bread slices on a baking sheet. Toast them on one side under the broiler. Stir together all the topping ingredients. Spread on the UNtoasted side of the bread. Set the cheese toasts under the broiler for 2-2 1/2 minutes. This is creamy, and oh-so delicious


  • Tuna Melts on Rye

Tuna Salad

2 5 oz. cans tuna, drained well

2 inner stalks of celery, minced

1 small shallot, minced

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

2 tsp capers, chopped

1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

salt to taste

Sriracha sauce to taste (start with 1/4 tsp if you’re not sure)

1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise

6 slices mild white cheese, like Swiss or Provolone

Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté , or cast iron, pan. Stir together ingredients through the mayonnaise. Assemble six sandwiches using 1/6 of the filling, 1 slice of cheese, and 2 slices of rye bread. Brush your pan with drippings, softened butter or oil. Place several of the sandwiches in the pan, so that they fit in one comfortable layer. Cook over medium low heat with a lid on for 2 minutes. Take the lid off and cook the sandwiches until they’re a deep golden brown on the one side. Turn and cover the pan for another two minutes. Again, uncover the pan and cook the tuna melts until they’re toasted and melty. Repeat with the rest of the sandwiches.


  • Swedish Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy on Sourdough Rolls

Swedish Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

2/3 cup water

1/2 lb. ground pork

1/2 lb. ground beef

2 TSP butter

2 TBSP minced onion

2 egg yolks

2/3 tsp salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 pinch grated nutmeg

1 pinch ground allspice

Pre heat the oven to 350°. Soak the breadcrumbs in the water in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the butter for a minute or two. Remove from the heat when the onion is softened. Beat the breadcrumb panade, the pork and the beef together (a stand mixer is helpful here) until smooth. Add the other ingredients and beat the mixture for a further 10 minutes. It should have become pale and fluffy.

Form the meat mixture into 1″ balls, set a half inch apart on an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Drain the meatballs. Prepare Mushroom Gravy, you will want 1 1/2 cups of the gravy for your meatballs. Pour the gravy over the meatballs and heat through gently.

Slice a sourdough roll close to the bottom, leaving a ‘hinge’. Scoop out most of the dough from the domed part of the roll. Nestle two or three warm meatballs in the scooped-out area. Pour a little extra mushroom gravy on top and pass the napkins.



  1. I almost couldn’t finish reading this, it made me so hungry…

    • The joy of sandwich recipes is that they’re not impossibly difficult to make (well, the one at the end is more involved, but you weren’t going to make that one anyway). Happy eating!

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