Hurray for Sandwiches

I can relate with the people of Fargo-Moorhead. After all, it was just 12 years ago, during the Flood of 1997, that we were in the same boat so to speak.

The time leading up to the evacuations of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks was pretty hectic. Many people spent hours upon hours sandbagging, moving personal property from their basements and doing whatever they could do salvage what they could.

One thing that sticks in my mind was how volunteers from everywhere helped out. One of the most important things to people before the evacuation and during the cleanup was the donations of food. Heaven knows we didn’t have time to cook much less the facilities to do it in.

It meant a lot to people whenever the Salvation Army truck came around with sandwiches and the like. I’m sure the same is going on down in the F-M area.

With that in mind, it was refreshing to hear how volunteers at UND Food Services have been busy the past few days makings sandwiches for volunteers and people who are fighting to save their property.

According to Denny Hogan, a UND employee, a group of about 30 people made 3,000 sandwiches this morning at Wilkerson Hall to be distributed to flood workers and those who have been displaced. He said that brings the total to 7,000 sandwiches, with another 3,000 or so to be made Monday.

It’s efforts such as this that show what people of our area are made of.

When things start to settle down a little, I have a couple of sandwich recipes you might like to try. One is for Beer-Braised Ham with Melted Onions. The other is for Ham and Gruyere Sandwiches with Melted Onions.

And with Easter just around the corner and ham popular in many homes, this might be just the ticket for leftovers.

Beer-Braised Ham with Melted Onions
3 large sweet onions, halved, thickly cut into wedges
1 bottle (12 ounces) pilsner beer
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small fully cooked smoked ham, 8 to 9 pounds
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the onions, beer, mustard, brown sugar and pepper in the bottom of a large roasting pan, spreading the onions in an even layer over the bottom. Place the ham, cut side down, over the onions. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil; bake until heated through, about 2 hours.
Remove the ham to a cutting board; cover with foil. Put the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, to reduce the pan juices and glaze the onions, about 25 minutes; cool. Thinly slice the ham; serve with the onions.
Yield: Serves 16.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 304 calories, 16 percent of calories from fat, 5.4 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 41 grams protein, 2,072 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Ham and Gruyere Sandwiches with Melted Onions
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce
1 to 2 dashes hot red pepper sauce, optional
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 loaves (1 pound each) round or oval unsliced bread, such as Italian, Vienna or sourdough bread
½ pound thinly sliced Grueyere or Jarlsberg cheese
1 cup melted onions from ham, see recipe above
2 pounds thinly sliced beer-braised ham, see recipe above
Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, hot sauce and cilantro in a small bowl; set aside (refrigerate if making ahead). Up to several hours before serving, cut the tops off the bread loaves about one-third of the way down the bread. Use your fingers to hollow out the bottoms of the bread and to remove a little of the inside top bread. (Save the soft bread for crumbs.)
Generously smear the mayonnaise sauce on the inside bottoms and tops of the breads. Arrange a layer of the cheese slices on the bottoms. Top each with half of the onions and a thick layer of ham slices. Top with another layer of the remaining cheese. Place the tops of the bread in place. Wrap each loaf in heavy-duty foil. (Refrigerate up to 2 hours if desired.)
Shortly before serving, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the wrapped bread loaves on a baking sheet. Bake until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted, about 40 minutes (slightly longer if the loaf has been refrigerated). Cool slightly in the foil. Cut into large wedges with a serrated knife.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 461 calories, 35 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 41 milligrams cholesterol, 48 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 1,330 milligrams sodium, 2.3 grams fiber.