The Blackhawk Special Sandwich

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Long before it became popular to eat tartines at Euro-style bakery cafes around the country, Americans got out knife and fork to tuck in to another sort of open-faced sandwich: The ridiculously rich, smothered with cream sauce, tasty-but-ugly hot variety. December, 2009, was the last month Chicagoans could enjoy one ’40s and ’50s-era example–The Blackhawk Special, hot turkey and ham smothered with sherried cream sauce—at the Wheeling, IL, outpost of the restaurant that made it famous. With New Years 2010, the Blackhawk in Wheeling—last of the Don Roth Blackhawk empire–closed. If you missed the opportunity? Here’s the recipe, given to us by the restaurant and scaled for you to cook at home.

Makes 2 sandwiches

For sandwich Ingredients

  • 2 slices toasted white bread
  • Turkey breast meat, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • Ham, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Sherried cream sauce
  • paprika

For sherried cream sauce Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup milk, hot, scalded
  • 1 Tbsp rich chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sherry
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place one slice toasted white bread in each of two rarebit dishes. Top with turkey and ham slices. Set aside
  2. Make sauce: Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Saute mushrooms and onion until soft. Add flour. Stir in and heat until flour is toasted. Whisk in hot milk to make creamy sauce. Add rest of sauce ingredients. Heat to near boiling. Spoon over meat-topped toasts.
  3. Make sauce: Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Saute mushrooms and onion until soft. Add flour. Stir in and heat until flour is toasted. Whisk in hot milk to make creamy sauce. Add rest of sauce ingredients. Heat to near boiling. Spoon over meat-topped toasts.

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