When I was younger (about 12) I was a bit obsessed with the cooking programme ‘Two Fat Ladies’. For anyone not familiar with the show it was, well, two 60+ women who were fat and cooked recipes. As if that wasn’t enough they travelled around on a Triumph bike – one of them driving and the other in a sidecar! They cooked a lot of traditional and forgotten recipes, many containing lard, and cooked with hands adorned with rings. They sang and drank wine while they cooked and went out for a cigarette break when they had something in the oven!
Anyway, they made quite an impression on me and one of their recipes has stuck in my mind for over 15 years and I finally decided to have a go at making it my own way.
A Shooter’s Sandwich is an Edwardian invention designed for taking along for eating on a hunt. Nowadays it makes a fantastic picnic dish. It’s basically a hollowed out loaf stuffed with fried steak and mushrooms, which is weighed down and left for 6 hours. The flavours amalgamate and the weighing down allows you to cut it into slices. Here’s my recipe.
Oh and if you want to see Two Fat Ladies in all their glory making this dish, check it out on YouTube here.
– Knob of butter
– 2 onions, finely diced
– 2 tbsps fresh thyme, leaves picked
– Salt and freshly ground pepper
– 650g rump steak (this is about 4 small-medium sized steaks)
– 1 large round white loaf of bread
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 4 Portabello mushrooms, stalks removed
– Piccalilli (to serve)
1. Start by frying your onions in a knob of butter on a medium to high heat. Once the onions have softened a little, turn down the heat, season well and add the thyme. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or so until the onions are buttery and soft. Remove from the heat and put to one side.
2. Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot (you don’t need oil in it). Season the steaks with pepper and cook on both sides. It’s best to cook the steak medium for the sandwich and the cooking time will vary according to the thickness of your steaks and the effectiveness of your hob. Mine took about 5 minutes on each side.
3. While the steaks are cooking, slice off the top of your round loaf. Carefully remove the inside of the loaf. You can keep the innards to use as breadcrumbs another time. Remove as much as you can, being careful not to tear through and then press the remains of the inside down.
4. Your steaks should now be done, remove them from the pan and allow them to rest. Keep the griddle pan on the heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms on both sides until very soft and nicely coloured. You may need to add more oil to the pan if the mushrooms soak up the one tablespoon you added. Season them well.
5. Now comes the fun bit of packing! Snuggle 2 of the steaks into the bottom of the loaf. Cover with half of the onion mixture, making sure to spread it over the steaks. Then squeeze in 2 of the mushrooms. Press the three layers down a little.
6. Now wedge in your other 2 steaks and again smoother the onion mixture over the top. Cram in your remaining 2 mushrooms and the loaf is full to the brim! Remember to pour in any juices from the steak where you left it to rest on a plate. Then you can get your lid and pop that on top. Optionally, you could add some mustard to the inside of your lid if you like.
7. Carefully wrap your loaf in greaseproof paper and secure with string. Cover again with 2 layers of tin foil. Now find some heavy stuff to weigh the loaf down with and leave it on your kitchen worktop for at least 6 hours. Go do some exercise so you don’t feel so guilty about devouring this later!
8. When you are ready for the sandwich just unwrap and slice it. Serve it with some piccalilli and salad or other picnic food. I can’t wait to whip this out at a picnic and see the surprise on people’s faces when I slice into this bread and they see what’s inside!