Apologies if Taio Cruz is now in your head. Hopefully this will distract you.
I used to love coming home on a cold dark winter’s night and having a plate of wholesome soup and a hearty sandwich for dinner. There is nothing more warming and comforting on a dreary night.
The soup in this post is my family’s traditional Scottish lentil soup.
As for the sandwich, I wanted something equally as inviting. So where better to turn for inspiration than to the Americans. And inspiration I got. I decided to make my sandwich with beer and mustard soaked pastrami, melted jarlsberg cheese, caramelised onions, balsamic glaze, sliced gherkins, crispy onion rings and a creamy mustard mayonnaise. It is big, extravagant and very American. Exactly what I wanted, albeit somewhat of a contrast to the traditional Scottish soup but the sweetness of the root vegetables in the soup works well against the bold flavours of sandwich.
There are a few different elements to this sandwich so the key is to have everything ready for assembling the sandwich. Take your time though. Your diners will be happy to wait. You ,on the other hand, may not!
LENTIL SOUP AND BEER AND MUSTARD SOAKED PASTRAMI SANDWICH
Ingredients (this makes a large pot of soup and two sandwiches):
3 onions, diced
10 carrots, peeled and diced
1 turnip, diced
1 large leek, sliced
2 cups red split lentils
1.5 litres vegetable stock
Quarter bunch parsley, finely chopped and a few leaves kept aside for the garnish
2 bread rolls
8 – 10 slices pastrami
100 ml beer
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
2 tbsp mayonaise
2 slices jarlsberg cheese
2 onions, 6 rings left intact and the rest thinly sliced into half moon shapes
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 gherkins, sliced (optional)
Salt and pepper
For the soup:
- Add the veg to the pot and heat over a medium heat without any oil to allow the vegetables to sweat. This will release more flavour into the soup. It will only take about 15 minutes to sweat the veg but could take more or less time depending on the size of the pieces of veg and the pot. You will notice the veg getting a little softer, brighter in colour and some water from the veg will collect in the bottom of the pot. If the bottom of the pan starts to colour before this happens, turn the heat down a little to stop the beg from burning and add a spoonful or two of water to stop the sizzling.
- Then add the stock, the lentils and some seasoning. I like to add a lot of pepper. You won’t need much salt as the stock will have quite a bit of salt in it. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until the veg are soft.
- Once the soup is ready, blend to create a thick soup. You can either use a hand blender or a potato masher depending on what consistency you want. I quite like to leave some chunks of veg so that there is still some bite to the soup. At this point if the soup is too thick then simply add a little more water.
- Then add the parsley and stir. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.
For the sandwich:
- Start with the caramelised onions because they take the longest. Place the half moon slices of onion in a saucepan with a glug of oil, the sugar, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt over a low heat. Leave to reduce down and caramelise. This will take about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, place the beer and two tbsp of wholegrain mustard in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Add the pastrami and allow to soak for 3 minutes.
- For the crispy onion rings, heat a small pan of vegetable oil ,probably about 1 cm in depth. Mix together the cornmeal, paprika and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dip the onion rings in the cornmeal mixture and allow to coat. Once the oil is hot, gently drop a coated onion ring into the oil to fry. Cook for 1 minute and then carefully turn and cook for 1 minute on the other side. The onion rings should be golden and crispy. Place on a piece of kitchen roll when you remove them from the oil to remove any excess oil.
- The final thing to make before assembling the sandwich is the mustard mayonnaise. Mix the mayonnaise, dijon mustard and 1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard in bowl. I like adding the dijon mustard for a deeper flavour but it can be left out if you prefer.
To assemble the sandwich:
- Warm the bread roll under the grill. Leave the top of the roll to one side for now. Take the bottom piece and spoon on some of the beer and mustard juice. Top with the pastrami and then a slice of Jarlsberg cheese. Place back under the grill to allow the cheese to melt.
- Once the cheese has melted, top with a spoonful of caramelised onions.
- Drizzle on the balsamic glaze.
- Then add the sliced gherkins. Again these aren’t to everyone’s taste so feel free to leave them out.
- Top with three onions rings.
- Spread the top of the roll with the mustard mayonnaise and place on top of the sandwich.
- Place a few large ladles of soup in a warm bowl. Sprinkle some parsley on top together with a pinch of coarsely ground pepper.
- Place the sandwich on a plate or slate and serve with a small serving of mustard mayo for dipping.
Certainly not an every day meal but delicious!