Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Chicken and Portobello Bacon Parm Sandwiches; Mastering the Art of Cabin Cuisine

Turn your boring camping or anytime menu into a spectacular display of delicious layers and Italian flavor with this saucy and cheesy sandwich.  Loaded with an ample slice of portobello wrapped in bacon, then grilled and riding shotgun with a crispy chicken patty or cutlet, dipped in a simmered and reduced spaghetti sauce, Plus, topped with fresh, sweet basil, sandwiched between two slices of garlic bread, need I say more?  This recipe can be as easy or complex as you desire, depending on your time allotments, but the outcome will be a most satisfying one.
 I made these sandwiches as the "Special" on our camping trip with my bestie, R.D.  I like to try out my new sandwich designs with him, giving him a chance to experience my cooking and culinary prowess.  This is extra special because we live two hours away from each other.  Our camping and cabin time is when we get to unwind and relax, kids and dogs included, catching up on everything and nothing all at the same time.  We value each other's presence, and have for almost 25 years. 
He is one of my most doting and loyal fans, ever supportive in my endeavors, and represented my one person cheering squad, for my debut in the Masterchef open calls in Raleigh, North Carolina 2017.
I prepared my dish in the parking lot, on a propane camping cook stove, encouragingly provided by my brother in law Jackie and sister Bonnie!  I prepped and individually bagged all my ingredients at the condo the night before.    My sign-in time was set for 12 noon.  We left North Myrtle Beach that morning, well before the 10 a.m checkout time. The travel time to the culinary institute was around 4 hours. We had a blast and it was a great way to wind up our hurricane laden vacation last September.

I did not fare as well as I expected, I think I blew the interview by not taking enough risks with my dish, Thai Style Chicken and Penne with Broccoli not being "unapologetically black" enough (kidding) AND/OR by blurting out "SOOKIE"(not kidding) :), still reeling from my introduction(on vacation) and subsequent binge watching of True Blood seasons 1 and 2, something that was new to me, old to others, spectacular nonetheless.
Anywho, can't wait to try out again, this time I plan to NAIL IT!, "SOOKIE"!


You may use good quality ready to cook chicken patties or cutlets for this assembly, as per time allocations. Of  course, you may take the long road at home in your kitchen and rock this sandwich from scratch, or not! 
 I used a store bought spaghetti sauce, and simmered it for about 2 hours, amp up it's flavor profile, for a sauce that would coat the chicken well. I cut whole portobellos in half horizontally (as best I could) and wrapped them in slices of precooked bacon before placing on a two sided grill pan. I used shredded Parmesan, Pepper Jack and Provolone cheeses and garlic bread or Texas Toast to tie it all together, adding a crisp and buttery finish with a pillowy interior.  The fresh basil leaves impart a bright, herby and fragrant kiss on the end.

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