Christmas sandwich

What do you do if you like Christmas well enough, but just can’t be bothered to make a whole elaborate Christmas dinner? Or what if you have to travel or go to work on Christmas day and can only bring a sandwich lunch? Today’s post is the answer – you make a Christmas sandwich!

This recipe was inspired by a product, Vantastic Foods soy protein, that I got from Vegami (formerly Un Monde Vegan) in Paris as part of my partnership with them. When I saw the package on the shelf, I wondered how soy protein could be made into a Christmas dish. The photo on the package seemed to suggest a sandwich was the way to go. Could there be such a thing as a Christmas sandwich? I asked myself. Challenge accepted!

Next, I had to figure out what kinds of “Christmasy” ingredients could go together with this soy protein in a sandwich. Cranberry sauce came to mind, and cheese… in the end, this became a fusion dish, with the cranberry sauce we North Americans are so fond of, plus French camembert-style cashew cheese, the kind with a rind (I used L’Affiné de Margot by Les Nouveaux Affineurs) and of course the quintessentially French baguette. I added bitter greens to offset the sweetness of the cranberry sauce. Incidentally, this sandwich idea is what inspired my most recent recipe: homemade cranberry sauce made from dried cranberries, for people living in places without fresh/frozen whole cranberries.

If you don’t have time to make cranberry sauce, you can substitute IKEA’s lingonberry jam.

Christmas sandwich

Makes two sandwiches.

  • 1 baguette or submarine sandwich bread
  • 1½ cup dry soy protein or 9 oz (250 g) seitan (I recommend Lima Gourmet Grill)
  • 1 recipe hatcho miso gravy (see below)
  • 4.5 oz (120 g) vegan camembert-style cheese with rind
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) cranberry sauce or lingonberry jam
  • Handful arugula or other bitter greens

Hatcho miso gravy

Makes about 2 cups (473 ml) of gravy.

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups (473 ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hatcho miso paste (strong/dark miso)

Start by soaking the soy protein chunks in hot water in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Make the gravy. Toast the flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and pepper in a dry saucepan for a few minutes on medium heat. Then add the broth slowly, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Now whisk in the soy sauce and mustard. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick.

Dilute the hatcho miso in a small amount (maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup) of hot water, stirring and breaking the miso up with a spoon. Some of the miso will settle at the bottom of your bowl so stir thoroughly to get it all.

By now the soy protein should be fully hydrated. Drain and squeeze out the excess water with your hands once the soy protein has cooled enough. Add the miso mixture to the gravy and combine the soy protein and gravy in a skillet. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the soy protein has absorbed the gravy.

Cut two lengths of baguette, one for each sandwich. Slice the bread lengthwise and cover with a layer of the soy protein in gravy.

Slice the cheese lengthwise. You’ll need about three slices for each sandwich.

Cover with the slices of cheese, which will melt a little.

Add some cranberry sauce on top of the cheese.

Finally, top the cranberry sauce with the bitter greens.

And here’s your yummy Christmas sandwich!

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