Have you ever seen a sandwich so flat? Where a normal sandwich would be piled high with toppings, this sandwich happens to contain them all in one deliciously sized sandwich that is friendly on your jaw muscles.
While the weather wasn’t picnic permitting this past weekend, I made the best of it and picnic’d indoors…in front of my TV on National Geographic. That counts, right? Shooter sandwiches were originally came about as a way to send a hearty, filling meal on British hunting parties, because a compressed sandwich traveled much better than two slices of bread and some meat. The sandwich didn’t gain popularity in the United States until the early 1990s and is traditionally served with beef – but in true Starving Chef fashion, I’ve decided to do away with tradition and make it however I want! Chicken and spinach (and a medley of other delicious vegetables) happened to be to my liking, and so in they went.
You’ll need to prepare your garlic first, since the roasting process will take about 30 minutes. Just cut off the top of the head of garlic, wrap in foil, drizzle on some olive oil, and cook at 400 for 25-30 minutes, or until the garlic has softened and started browning.
While your garlic roasts, filling your home with a beautiful aromatic scent, grill up your chicken. I used thin tenders to ensure they would be cooked all the way through.
Time for a RECIPINCEPTION!
Tzatziki sauce is traditionally served on lamb or beef gyros and is a staple in Greek cuisine. The night before I made this sandwich, I whipped up a super simple tzatziki recipe for some gyros, and decided to use the leftovers for the shooter!
Once your tzatziki sauce is chilling, start sautéing the onions until they are tender.
Add in the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have begun to release their moisture.
Next you’ll need to remove the side of your loaf of bread. I found it easiest to cut straight down and lift up to remove the insides than cutting at an angle. You’ll need about 1 inch of breading/crust to contain your toppings and not get terribly soggy. Cut the excess off the ‘lid’ so it is about 1 inch thick.I spent a lot of time worry about what I could do with the leftover bread, not wanting to waste it since it was so fresh. I ended up making a simple chicken spinach strata with the remaining ingredients! Time to begin the layering process!
Start by using half of the tzatziki sauce in the bottom/sides of the hallowed bread.
Next add in the fresh veggies – peppers and tomatoes!
Let your sautéed veggies cool for a few minutes before piling them into the bread capsule.
Then stuff in the chicken, as much as you can fit! Out of the ten tenders I cooked, I was able to fit in 7 and had a few left over that I tossed into the strata.
Next top with the cheeses.
Followed by the spinach.
Oops! Almost forgot about the roasted garlic! I had left it in the oven while I was cooking and meant to add it in with the sautéed veggies – luckily I hadn’t wrapped the sandwich for pressing!
Finally use the rest of the tzatziki sauce on the lid of the bread and press down to get it as close to the cut lines as possible.
Then wrap the loaded loaf with parchment paper.
And tightly wrap the whole thing in a few layers of tin foil.
Since I happen to be a weakling, the heaviest things I could find around my house to press the sandwich were a few comic books, my thickest Harry Potter books, and my boyfriend’s engineering book.
He later took pity on my weakness and carried up some 50lb weights he had sitting around in the garage, which definitely seemed to help more so than my 30-odd-pound book weight.
The sandwich will need to be pressed for at least 4-6 hours to achieve maximum flatness. I removed the weight after about 5 hours because I was starving.
The sandwich can be served hot or cold – but if you decided to heat it up prior to serving, be sure to keep it wrapped tightly in the parchment and foil. I heated mine up at 375*F for 25 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve alongside some baked corn on the cob, garlic asparagus, and a nice big ol’ glass of American lemonade. I wish I would have been able to take this meal outside and enjoy it properly, on a picnic blanket, in true 4th of July fashion. But even if it hadn’t been pouring all weekend, the temperature has barely made it about 60 degrees and the ground is so wet the mosquitos have been having a wild time procreating in the drain pipe behind our apartment. But if none of those things prevent you from having a picnic, then by all means, this sandwich is best enjoyed outside!
Shooter Sandwich (Perfect Picnic Sandwich!)
FOR SHOOTER SANDWICH:
- 1 loaf sourdough bread
- 7 grilled chicken tenders
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce (recipe follows)
- ½ cup yellow bell peppers chopped
- ¼ cup tomato chopped
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup white onion chopped
- 1 head garlic for roasting
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
FOR EASY TZATZIKI SAUCE:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons garlic (or garlic powder) minced
- Preheat the oven to 400*F. Cut off the top of the head of garlic and wrap in foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle a pinch of salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Roast in the heated oven for 20-30 minutes, or as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Grill the chicken tenders, about 3-4 minutes per side, and set aside to cool.
- FOR EASY TZATZIKI SAUCE: Open and stir the Greek yogurt before adding the lemon juice as to not curdle the yogurt. Stir in the dill and garlic powder. Refrigerate in an air tight container until ready to use – at least 1 hour.
- Chop the onions and mushrooms. Sauté the onions the 3 tablespoons of butter until tender. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until the moisture is released from the mushrooms and the onions are browning. Remove from heat.
- Cut open the sourdough loaf and remove the breading inside, leaving about 1 inch of crust/bread around the sides. Remove excess breading from the 'lid' and set aside.
- In the bottom of the bread bowl, spread half of the tzatziki sauce, followed by the yellow peppers and tomatoes.
- Next add the sautéed onions and mushrooms, roasted garlic, and chicken. Top with spinach. Spread the remaining tzatziki sauce on the lid and press down as close to the cut as possible.
- Wrap the loaf in parchment paper and then tightly wrap in foil. Place in a location where weight can be added on top. Add 40-60lbs of pressure for 4-6 hours. The longer, the better.
- (Optional) After the 4-6 hour period, place the still wrapped sandwich in the oven at 375*F for 25-30 minutes to melt the cheeses.
- When ready, remove the wrapping from the loaf and cut into individual slices. Serve alongside some oven baked corn on the cob and enjoy (outside!)