When I think of Irish food, sandwiches are not the first thing that comes to mind, until I go abroad and get a craving for a deli counter sandwich and realise that some of the sandwiches we eat in Ireland are truly unique.
I’m not sure who was the first person to put spicy breaded chicken on a bread roll, with bread stuffing and cheese, and perhaps coleslaw, but I imagine that they might well have been suffering from a hangover. However they came about, chicken fillet rolls are now as synonymous with Irish cuisine as coddle, stew and colcannon, I believe.
When I was growing up, corned beef and brown sauce sandwiches were eaten often in my house. I still remember the little plastic butcher’s counter bag in the fridge that would be filled with pre-sliced corned beef. We would butter some sliced pan, lash on brown sauce and add one slice of corned beef and eat it for lunch. Years later, I created a dish based on this memory and used it as my entry for the Eurotoques young chef competition (it brought me to the final, thank you HP sauce).
I remember the first time I saw a picture of a muffaletta sandwich and it was one of those moments where you can imagine exactly how good it will taste, so I made one and have never looked back. Of course, it’s not hard to make a great sandwich with amazing ingredients and I like to use Gubbeen salami and cheese for this one, as well as McGeough’s air dried pork, but you can use whatever you have a preference for and substitute any air-dried ham for the pork.
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Chicken fillet roll fillings are a serious talking point, so I kept it simple (Most people love pepper sauce). The recipe also explains how to make easy, no-knead baguettes at home.
You can buy pre-brined brisket in most good butcher shops, and the brown sauce recipe will work well as a condiment with all meat based dishes. It may look like a long list of ingredients, but you will probably have a good many of them in your store cupboard. These are my favourite sandwiches, and they are all substantial enough to make a main course.
Recipe: Chicken fillet roll with creamy pepper sauce