When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. One of my favorite book series in those days was the one about Betsy and Tacy, two girls growing up in the Midwest at the turn of the last century.
One of the events that occurs regularly in these books is Betsy’s family’s tradition of sharing their Sunday lunch with friends and family. This meal happens in the late afternoon and stars a giant platter of sandwiches that are always prepared by Betsy’s father.
Some weeks his sandwiches would feature cold roast meat, while others they’d be simple constructions of fried egg or thinly sliced onion that’d been well-seasoned. Served with coffee and slices of cake to follow, this seemed, to my mind, to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening.
Last week, suddenly hit by a craving for a Betsy-Tacy-style sandwich party, I went in search of a little sandwich inspiration. What I found was Guy Fieri’s Roasted Leg o’ Lamb Sandwich. It’s a three-part recipe that has you marinate and roast off a piece of lamb, make a spicy from-scratch mayonnaise and then shred fennel, cabbage, onion and Brussels sprouts into a crunchy topping.
I prepared my lamb as Guy suggests (though I didn’t cook it quite as long as he recommends — just for 90 minutes, until the internal temperature was 130 degrees F) and took inspiration from the other two components of his dish. The finished sandwiches were meaty and so flavorful. My friends adored them and I do believe a new Weekender tradition of Sunday sandwiches has been born.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— If you don’t have time to make a specialty sauce for these sandwiches, do what I did: Stir canned chipotles in adobo sauce into store-bought mayonnaise. It’s plenty zippy and delicious, but a whole heck of a lot easier.
— In place of the suggested slaw, I cut sprouts and fennel thinly with a handheld slicer and tossed them with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil. This quick salad offers crunch and texture.
— If lamb isn’t your thing, substitute roast beef or pork. They both go well with the sauce and slaw.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.