A couple of weeks ago, knowing that British Sandwich Week was looming, we reached out to food writer, BBQ doyenne and all-round sandwich expert, Helen Graves, for her hot take on a ridiculously meaty sandwich suggestion. A huge OTT affair, that we could possibly feature on our blog. Her response, in typical Peckhamese, was this:
'Yo! Heard of the Francesinha? That’s a BEAST from Portugal with steak, chorizo and Portuguese sausage, which is then covered in a beer sauce.'
And yo, word up sister, it did indeed ring a bell. Francesinha. Francesinha. Francesinha. Where had we heard that one before?
Then the penny dropped. Because Mr Turner himself had shown how to construct one in his cookbook 'HOG' - that celebration of all things porcine and porky.
Given that we like to be thorough at Turner & George, we ran some tests on this recipe in the T&G development kitchen, using both Supper Pigs and Breakfast Pigs, both in separate sandwiches. Along with some slices of smokey Butcher's Dogs and flavoursome centre cut rump. We also tested it out with some fine slices of pork ribeye and bavette. Some Tunworth, procured from the shop, was also used on a totally different sandwich, for experimental purposes.
Mat was keen on going a step further and wanted to see what it would taste like with some Galician fillet and Spicy Pigs. But by that point, we had got through about 8 versions of the Francesinha and for the chef (me) the room was starting to spin.
The great thing about this sandwich is that you can go all out and try out different variations on a theme.
Richard's version is probably the best though. And this is what he has got to say on the matter.
'A big messy sandwich from Porto in Portugal that requires a knife and fork, Francesinha means ‘Frenchy’, referencing its probable origins in the croque monsieur sandwich of France.'
Believe us when we say this, it is messy. Napkins will be required. And possibly a nap afterwards.
- To make the sauce, pour the pork gravy, passata and beer into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Reduce to a thickish sauce consistency and season with hot sauce to taste.
- To assemble the sandwiches, first you have to get the meats ready. Split the fresh sausages and the smoked sausages in half lengthways and cook on a hot griddle until cooked.
- Season the steaks with salt and pepper and quickly griddle until cooked.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to a low setting
- Lightly toast or griddle the sliced bread and place 4 of the slices in 4 wide, ovenproof soup dishes.
- Place the ham, grilled steaks, grilled fresh sausages and smoked sausages on top, and follow with the remaining slices of bread.
- On top of this put the slices of cheese, covering the whole sandwiches, and divide the sauce between each, pouring it over the top.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes, to heat through, then serve.
This recipe can be found with many others in Richard's cookbook - Hog - published by Mitchell Beazley RRP £25.
Feature image credit: Paul Winch-Furness