How to make a shooter’s sandwich

Shooter's sandwich - the perfect picnic food?

Shooter’s sandwich – the perfect picnic food?

I went fishing yesterday so I thought I’d make a shooter’s sandwich to take with me. Traditional fare for Edwardian hunters, it’s perfect to take with you when you’re hunting or fishing or just having a picnic. And it’s dead easy to make, like most things it just needs a  little time.

It needs:

  • A nice round crusty loaf
  • A couple of steaks
  • Shallots
  • Mushrooms (about twice the amount of shallots you have)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustard and horseradish
  • A bunch of chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • A clove of garlic (optional)
  • Butter (definitely not optional)
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Tinfoil
  • String

To make it:

  • Finely dice all the mushrooms and shallots (and garlic, if using), add a big knob of butter and gently fry in a large pan, until the mushrooms have lost most of their moisture.
  • Season the mixture with salt, loads of black pepper and the Worcestershire sauce. Add the chopped parsley, mix it up nicely and set aside for now.
  • Cut the top off the loaf to make a lid, and scoop out most of the inside (save the rest to make breadcrumbs, or just nibble on it as you do the rest, or take it fishing)
  • Season and fry the steaks until (at most) medium rare (if you like your steaks well done you can show yourself out now).
  • Tuck one freshly cooked steak into the bottom of the hollowed out loaf, and cover it with the mushroom mixture.
  • Put the other steak on top of this.
  • Spread loads of mustard (I use Dijon) and horseradish onto the top steak and on the inside of the lid.
  • Pop the lid back onto the loaf,
  • Wrap the loaf up in the grease proof paper and tie it up tightly with string.
  • Wrap it all in tinfoil
  • Get a chopping board, or a baking tray (basically something flat), put that on top of the filled loaf and weigh it down with lots of weight. Food tins, books, whatever you can find.
  • Put it somewhere cool and leave it for about 4 or 5 hours, or preferably overnight, until it’s compressed.
  • Unwrap from the foil, and cut through the grease proof paper.
  • Tuck in!

Is it the best sandwich in the world? I have no idea, but it’s one of my favourite foods to take fishing. I could live off one of these for a weekend 🙂

Shooter's sandwich mise en place

Shooter’s sandwich mise en place

Frying the mushroom and shallot mixture

Frying the mushroom and shallot mixture

Hollowing out the loaf

Hollowing out the loaf

With the first steak and the mushroom mixture in

With the first steak and the mushroom mixture in

Smearing horseradish on the second steak, mustard on the inside of the lid

Smearing horseradish on the second steak, mustard on the inside of the lid

Wrapped in paper and tied

Wrapped in paper and tied

Added the weights

Added the weights

After pressing

After pressing

Shooter's sandwich - the perfect picnic food?

Results!

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Breton bread

breton_bread_crumb

Breton bread

Breton bread is a French loaf, from Brittany. I made this a while back, the recipe is from Richard Bertinet’s “Crust” book. It’s still the best bread I’ve ever made. Really chewy crust, nice crumb, great flavour, and it stayed fresh for ages. Here’s how I made it:

Make 2 large loaves.

For the ferment:

  • 10g fresh yeast (if you can find any, I used about 4g dried)
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 350g water

Mix together (yeast into flour first), work the dough, return to your lightly floured mixing bowl and cover with a teatowel, or plastic bag, whatever.

Leave at room temp for 6 hours, or for up to 48 hours in the fridge. I left mine for 48 hours, it had a bit of a crusty top, but there was roughly double the amount I needed for the loaves.

Bread method:

  • 15g Sel-gris (Sel-gris is a French, unrefined mineral rich sea-salt, grey in colour. I couldn’t get any so I used coarse Maldon sea salt)
  • 700g water
  • 750g strong white flour
  • 200g buckwheat flour
  • 50g dark rye flour
  • 300g fermented white dough (above)
  • 10g fresh yeast (or about 4g dry/easybake in my case)
  • a little flour for dusting, semolina for your peels if using one

1.Stick oven on at 250C, pop your baking stones, or whatever in there to heat up. I finally got around to trying my large piece of larvikite[1] which was from a friend’s kitchen sink cutting out. It didn’t explode – yay!

Larvikite baking stone

Larvikite baking stone

2.Dissolve the salt in some of the water, then mix all the ingredients (including the salt) in a large mixing bowl. When it comes together in the bowl, use a scraper to turn it out onto the UNFLOURED work surface. Work the dough with the french method (or at least try – here’s Richard Bertinet doing it properly)

3.lightly flour the bowl, form the dough into a ball, and cover with a cloth, leave it for 45 minutes. I left it an hour or so.

4.lightly flour the work surface, turn dough out and fold, forming into a ball as before, then rest as before, about another hour.

5.Cut dough in half, shape into 2 round loaves. Flour proving baskets (or if like me you don’t have any, use mixing bowls lined with cloths). Cover with a baking cloth, and leave for about 2 hours at room temp. Should be roughly 1.5 – 2x the size.

6.Dust peels with semolina (i used a flat baking tray, with flour), turn a loaf out onto each one. Slash the tops with a lame (or fillet knife in my case, the sharper the better)

7.Quickly open the oven door and generously spray inside of the oven with water. Slide the loaves onto the baking stones, spray quickly again, then close door.

8.Give them about 5 minutes at 250C (my oven only goes to 230C), then turn down to about 210C, and bake for about 20-30 minutes. Mine took about 40 minutes before they sounded hollow when tapped underneath.

9.Take them out and cool on wire racks

10.OMNOMNOMNOM!

Breton bread dough

Breton bread dough

Proving the dough

Proving the dough

The finished loaves

The finished loaves