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Winter Is Not The Time For A Wimpy Sandwich

Wed., Jan. 8, 1997

Sandwiches vary with the seasons, and winter is the time for a hot and hearty feast.

Just as you wouldn’t wear a lightweight windbreaker when it’s 20 below zero, you wouldn’t use spongy white bread as the base for a hefty sandwich. Sourdough, French bread, pumpernickel, rye and onion rolls are made for winter sandwiches.

Fillings change from summer’s shaved slices of turkey or chicken to hunks of meat. To survive this season, you need more than see-through slices of chicken breast.

And rethink the condiments as well. A spicy sauce that smothers your sandwich is far more satisfying than mustard.

Cube steak, which admittedly looks meager on the shelf, comes into its own as the centerpiece of a generous winter sandwich if you build it up. Top it with onions. Pack it in a hunk of French bread and slather on Chile Con Queso, a hot, rich cheese and salsa concoction that generates enough heat to make winter a memory.

Steak Sandwich With Chile Con Queso

Chile Con Queso (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, sliced

1 (8-ounce) cube steak, cut into 2 serving pieces

Salt, pepper

2 (3-inch) pieces French bread, sliced open but not halved, toasted

Prepare Chile Con Queso. Keep warm in top of double boiler over simmering water while preparing sandwich.

Melt butter in medium skillet. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cube steak halves and saute until browned on both sides but still pink in center, about 5 minutes on first side, 2 to 3 minutes on second side. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange one piece cube steak in each piece of French bread. Top each with sauteed onions and spoon in Chile Con Queso. Serve any remaining Chile Con Queso as “dipping” sauce.

Yield: 2 servings.

Note: If you have a tough piece of cooked cube steak, slice it into thin strips and add half to each sandwich.

Chile Con Queso

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup hot milk

2 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup salsa (hot or medium), undrained

Salt, freshly ground white pepper

Melt butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir in flour and stir constantly to form paste. Gradually add hot milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth.

Stir in cheese, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in salsa and cook over very low heat until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yield: About 1-1/2 cups.

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