The Club Sandwich

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I don’t know about your family, but for us on Christmas day munchies seem to kick in about 7.00pm. Then it becomes turkey raiding time! This triple-decker is so easy to make and it looks and tastes great. You know what? I reckon I big plate of these in the middle of the room for everyone to have a go at whilst watching Corrie would really hit the spot. If you want to know how to make one of these there are endless examples on the internet that are much better than anything I can do. So I shan’t bother here.

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As best I can tell, this American classic was created sometime in the late 19th century probably in New York. Whilst its origins seem to be in the late 19th century it’s popularity seems to have taken off in the early 20th century. It’s history in the UK often seems linked to Wallis Simpson who apparently specialised in them. Just in case you don’t know who Wallis Simpson is, she is the American divrocee for whom King Edward the 8th gave up his throne for. Which, maybe, in a kind of way, could be seen as quite a recommendation! However, the essential truth is the origins of the club are lost. My Larousse only mentions it in passing and my late mother’s 1909 Dictionary of cookery has no reference to it at all. There was a time this wonderful item seemed to be on the room service menu of every hotel I visited. It’s not anymore, which is a shame really.

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Venison (or Beef) Bourgignon

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“This splendid stew has been raped and pillaged by pub and wine bar cooks the length and breadth of this fair land of ours – they add peppers and other unmentionable ingredients to what must be a simple, slow cooked dish with no deviation from this recipe”. Keith Floyd, Floyd on France, 1987. ISBN 0-563-20596-2

Ok, well, my bourgignon deviates big time! For a kick off I’m using venison not beef. However I hope the late Mr Floyd, wherever he is, would appreciate that what I have done here is, I believe, very much in the spirit of the above quote. By the way, I did cook Mr Floyds recipe, without deviation, for my late parents and they liked it. Yes, they did. They really did. They asked me to do it again six months later back in Cumbria.

Whenever I make a visit to Crewkerne Farmers Market I like to wander around the stalls first, see what’s good, and then start creating in my head what I can do with them. This time, it was a pretty straight forward no-brainer. One stall had packets of venison for sale, another had mushrooms to die for. In addition, I had still had some bacon left over from a previous visit back in the freezer. What else is better on a sunny, crisp autumn day?

Most recipes for this seem to include a carrot. As I really can’t work out why, I don’t. All I have here is venison (beef, will do), bacon, mushrooms, onion, garlic and parsley and some decent booze in the form of drinkable red wine and a slosh of brandy. In an ideal world the meat should be marinated first. Whatever you do don’t skimp on the quantity or quality of the mushrooms as they’re vital. Using a bouquet garni is good if you can manage it.

This is one of those things that is so simple it’s mind-blowing. Fry everything off (except the parsley), flambe the meat in the brandy and put in to a pot. Keeping some of the parsley back to stir in before serving.

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Stir in plenty of red wine, add a knob of butter and put in the oven at, say, gas mark 4 or 5 for say, 45 – 60 mins.

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I not going to claim this is the best bourgignon recipe or even that this is the best way to make it. But I can claim this, it’s a damn good one!