I have an obsession. If I love something at a restaurant, I have to try to recreate it or improve it at home. I just can’t help myself. Hence my wonderful Chicken Bryan (à la Carrabba’s) or Yummy Salmon Pasta (based on a no-longer-offered TGI Friday’s recipe). It’s no surprise, then, that since The Cheesecake Factory cut my FAVORITE sandwich, I have felt a strong calling to recreate it. And recreate it, I did!
Yes, it was good. Pretty near close to perfect, actually. Yes, it was so good that we are going to eat it again for lunch tomorrow. The essential ingredients of the sandwich (in order from bottom to top) are Texas toast, meatloaf, sauteed onions and mushrooms, swiss cheese, a beer, fresh arugula, tomato bacon jam, and garlic aioli. Here are my suggestions for making it perfectly:
- Meatloaf — Use the recipe on the back of the Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix box, but substitute Stove Top Stuffing for breadcrumbs. Cook a portion without ketchup covering the top, and use that for the sandwiches. It’s best on the day after you had it for dinner (trust me).
- Sauteed onions and mushrooms — TCF sautees these in Guinness, which we didn’t have on hand but that I would definitely suggest because it does add something extra. I didn’t use mushroom since my husband doesn’t like them, and I added some Worchestershire sauce when carmelizing the onions because of not having a dark beer on hand like Guinness. It helped.
- Swiss cheese — TCF marinates their swiss in Guinness as well. I just did it in regular beer. I think I’m going to do a beer/Worchestershire sauce mixture next time, even if I have Guinness on hand. I topped the bottom of my sandwiches with these cheese slices that had been soaking in beer and stuck them in the oven for a minute or two under the broiler. Perfection!
- Arugula — use a heaping fist-full. Seriously, you think it might be weird, but it brings a real balance to the sandwich.
- Tomato bacon jam — Use this recipe but skip the pepper. It unbalances the whole sandwich if you have the pepper. It really wasn’t bad to prepare as far as jams go and it makes a whole pint, so you will have plenty extra to freeze for later use (it only lasts 3-4 days in the fridge). This is the closest recipe I’ve found to TCF.
- Garlic aioli — I mixed minced garlic with mayo. I didn’t run it through the food processor like I should have and I used way too much garlic. Good thing we are a garlic-loving family or it would have been too strong!
So there you have it, the ultra-complicated-yet-perfectly-matched-and-delicious sandwich. What are some of the recipes you’d love to copy from a restaurant?