"I'm what you call a bona fide city girl"-Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City.
I love city life. I love the noise, the fast pace, the diversity, and the general sense that in the event I'm attacked on the street, even if people are too callous to help me, they they will at least be there to hear me scream. Ok, so I don't love that last part, but as far as I'm concerned, the opportunities and excitement of city living makes dodging reckless drivers, overpaying for drinks, and looking over my shoulder on the walk home from work everyday totally worth it. With that said, however, I also appreciate country life, and have recently found myself enamored with the Pioneer Woman, her life on a dairy farm, and the culinary masterpieces she churns out of her kitchen. I couldn't help but be inspired by her Marlboro Man Sandwich, named for her cattle wrangling (though hopefully not cigarette smoking) husband. But I wrangle a poodle, not cattle, so I did what I do best, and made this sandwich my own, in a very city girl type of way.
I knew immediately I wanted to make my version of this sandwich vegetarian, largely because I can't afford grass fed beef, and don't eat much red meat in general. I used portabello mushrooms specifically because of their rich, meaty texture. I also didn't use butter, but you'll see what I did use instead later...
Oh chopped garlic, how I love thee.
The PW's recipe uses provolone, but I really wanted the sharpness of gorgonzola, because I'm a city girl and I don't have patience for mild cheeses.
So I didn't use an ounce of butter to saute the vegetables--a sharp contrast to the almost whole stick of butter used in the PW's original recipe--because I used rendered bacon fat and olive oil instead. I really wanted a deeper flavor base for this dish, that olive oil on its own just could not provide. I had pan fried some bacon with rosemary for breakfast that morning, and saved the fat in the pan specifically for making this dish (see pan in background). But I also keep a jar of bacon grease in my fridge just for cooking purposes (yes, I save all bacon grease). But because I do so love olive oil, for its flavor, and life prolonging qualities, I also used a generous amount of rosemary infused olive oil in which to saute the vegetables. No regrets.
The PW's recipe also called for sherry, but I've never even tasted sherry, let alone have it stocked in my pantry. But I did have bourbon, because I always have bourbon in my pantry. Always.
The most important part of this processes was letting the vegetables simmer to let the flavors really develop.
And the best part of the flavor developing process is the taste test. During the taste testing/flavor developing process, I realized two things: More bourbon is better and using bacon fat was the best idea ever!
I toasted my baguette in a little bit of pan jus and olive oil
And nothing says love on a sandwich like a bit of cheese and a few minutes under the broiler
This city girl could eat this sandwich everyday. I must say, this is one of the best things I've ever created in my kitchen. The vegetables had this complex flavor from the worcestershire and the bourbon, with a slight bacon finish that paired so well with the blue cheese. I literally patted myself on the back for this one, but the credit really goes to the Pioneer Woman. She's a freakin genius!
The City Girl Sandwich
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
Rendered Bacon Fat
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 lb portabello mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
3 Whole Bell Peppers, red, orange, and yellow; sliced into rings
2 small onions, thickly sliced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
4 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Bourbon
2 tbsp Sriracha
1 French Baguette
Add more rosemary infused olive oil and bacon fat to pan, and add onions, peppers, and garlic to pan. Saute about 5 minutes, until tender but not flimsy. Remove from heat, cover with foil and set aside.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to pan, and return mushrooms to pan. Add bourbon, worcestershire, and sriracha. Allow to simmer for about 3 minutes, then add peppers and onions. Simmer vegetables another 2-3 minutes. Add more salt, worceshtire and/or bourbon as needed. And an extra squeeze of sriracha for good measure. Remove from from pan, cover with foil, and set aside. In the same pan, keep just a very small bit of jus and add olive oil. Toast a halved baguette in olive oil until browned and crisp. Top bread with vegetable mixture, and sliced gorgonzola. Put under the broiler for about two minutes, until cheese is melted.
Serve immediately, and enjoy.