Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Patty Melt VIDEO - Sandwich Month

It's sammy month at the chintzy chateau -- and The 99 Cent Chef has your seat saved at the head of my dining table. Do you like rye, sourdough, pita, or multi-grain? Should I make it toasted, open-faced, or plain; or are you one of those who like their bread edges sliced off? As for what goes on between two slices of bread, well let's just say the variations are endless.

Looking back on my food blog, I've done my share of sammy construction, just click on any name to see them. Scallop Roll, Picnic Sandwiches with Amy Mann, a Big Easy Po' Boy Tour, Meatball Sub, Pita with Scrambled Eggs, Vietnamese Bahn Mi, Muffaletta, Salmon Schmear, Veggie Wrap, Salmon and Portabella Mushroom Burgers, Grilled 3 Cheese, and a Cuban Sandwich. Plus, for Super Bowl Sunday any of these sandwiches will keep the cheerleading section happy.

For the month of February, I have a chalkboard menu of sandwich videos and recipes, including crunchy spheres of herb-infused Falafels in Pita Bread; a homemade version of the classic McDonalds Egg McMuffin; a special sandwich edition of Restaurant Nocturnes; a way out Alligator Po' Boy by my Cajun nephew Chef Matt, and right now, a decadent and luscious Patty Melt.

I think the first time I tried one was from a street corner food truck. After scarfing one down, this is one lunchtime nap inducer. Although Patty Melts seems to have fallen out of favor lately. (I used to see them on every hamburger joint's menu.) Maybe they are seen as just too plain with the advent of the $12 burger (which, on principle, I have refused to shell out for!)

Most sandwiches have crunchy, healthy lettuce, cucumber, pickles, and/or tomato to offset the protein and carbs; however, in a Patty Melt, there is no pretense. This sandwich cuts right to the chase, just carbs, meat, and oozing cheese -- even the onions are cooked down to a sweet caramelization.

For my take on the Patty Melt, ground hamburger is too expensive, so I used ground chicken instead. Most grocery store frozen deli cases stock ground chicken and turkey for a little over a dollar a pound. I got mine at the local 99c only Store. So for this calorie bomb of a sandwich, ground poultry has less fat -- it's a lighter way to go.

I have a slew of sandwich orders to get in, so place your order now, and check back soon. And in the meantime, check out my Patty Melt recipe video below -- warning may induce drooling!

Patty Melt Recipe - VIDEO

Play it here. Video runs 2 minutes, 55 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.
  • 1/3 pound of ground meat - per hamburger patty. I used ground chicken, but turkey or ground beef is okay.
  • 1 whole onion - small to medium.
  • 2 slices of bread - Normally rye bread is used for a Patty Melt, but you can use any type of bread (or buns) you like.
  • American cheese - 2 slices. Again, if you have a favorite (like cheddar or Swiss) go ahead and try it out.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter - for toasting bread in the pan.
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil - for caramelizing the onions.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Since caramelizing onions takes the longest, start with that. If you use a larger pan the onions will brown quicker. First slice and/or cube-cut the onions. Don't worry about the size of the pieces, they will cook down considerably.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium hot frying pan. Add chopped onions and stir around for a couple of minutes. Now you can sit back and let them lightly brown. It will take a while but the flavor of sweetened caramelized onion is worth it. You need to still stir around the onions every once and a while, so they don't blacken and burn. This process takes 10 - 15 minutes.

If you are making a few Patty Melts, then you can brown several chopped onions at once -- you may want to do a few onions anyway, as caramelized onions are good on almost any grilled sandwich (including a simple Grilled Cheese, or as the base to French Onion Soup, recipe here.) It's also okay to make caramelized onions ahead of time, just store them in the refrigerator until you need them. When onions are done, set aside.

Next, form a meat patty (or patties) that is slightly larger than the bread slice. Depending on the water or fat content of the ground meat, the patty will shrink. I got three patties from one pound of ground chicken.

Add one tablespoon of oil to a frying pan, over medium heat. Add patty and season with salt and pepper. Brown each side of the patty, until done. If you are cooking ground poultry then cook it all the way, until juices run clear when pierced with a knife. For ground beef, you can cook it the way you normally like it (medium to well done.)

Now time to put it all together. You may need to clean out your frying pan to start fresh. Add a tablespoon of butter (or your favorite substitute) to a medium heating pan. Coat the bottom of the pan so the butter will coat the bread slice.

Add one slice of bread, a slice of cheese, meat patty then top with caramelized onions and one more cheese slice. Top it all off with the last bread slice.

Your Patty Melt is built and now just brown each side as you would a typical grilled cheese sandwich. It only takes 5 minutes or so. Watch as the cheese melts and mixes with the caramelized onions -- my cheapie Patty Melt is one decadently tasty sammy!


Tina said...

I love the patty melt video. In Saint Louis, we have a sandwich called "The St. Paul" ususally Pork St. Paul, or Chicken St. Paul, the meat used is normally what the asian resturants use to make fried rice. It would be fun too see you do your spin on this.
Some compare it to Egg Foo Young on white bread with lettuce Tomatoe, pickles and always mayo. I have never known anyone to know why its called a "St. Paul"
Fun blog-keep going and I LOVE that you include your MOM.

Dinahsoar said...

Yu-ummm...what's not to like? Experimenting with a veggie burger recipe on behalf of my gluten free meat free daughter tonight--will make it a patty melt.

----- said...

With the use of ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef, this creation is an excellent variation on the classic patty melt! If you'd like to speed up the caramelization of the onions, it helps to add a small amount of sugar (about a scant teaspoon to a couple of large chopped onions) to the onions as they cook. The additional sugar gives an extra touch of sweetness.

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Tina, I'll google "The Saint Paul" and get the low down! Sounds delish ;-p

99 Cent Chef said...

Let me know if you come up with a decent veggie burger Dinahsoar, it on my recipe to-do list ;-p

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Culinary Curmudgeon, sweet tip ;-p

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