Adam Liaw’s star-spangled sandwiches for Father’s Day

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Wondering how to shower dad with deliciousness this father’s day? Forget the usual roasts, steaks and pies. How about an American-style sandwich? It’s hard to overestimate how important sandwiches are to American cuisine. Every state, town or diner anywhere in the country has its signature specialty. From BLTs and clubs to pastrami-on-ryes and oyster po-boys, you could tell the story of American food just through what they choose to put between two pieces of bread. To say that dad will love them is an understatement.

Turducken burger with bacon and brown bread stuffing

If you’ve never heard of the Frankenfood monstrosity that is the “turducken”, it’s basically a stuffed chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. No desire to make one? Me neither. But here’s a burger version that you might want to make instead. It’s delicious.

1 duck breast

2 chicken thigh fillets

500g turkey mince

2 tbsp duck fat, plus extra for frying

1 tsp salt

6 soft hamburger rolls

6 butter lettuce leaves

¼ cup dijon mustard

¼ cup cranberry sauce

¼ cup good quality mayonnaise

Bacon and brown bread stuffing

4 slices brown sourdough, chopped into 1cm pieces

50g butter

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

100g speck or thick-cut bacon, cut into batons

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp each finely chopped thyme and sage

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1½ cups chicken stock

1. For the stuffing, heat the oven to 200C. Scatter the sourdough cubes over a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl. Melt half of the butter in a medium frying pan over low-medium heat and fry the onions until they are translucent. Add the onion to the bread and return the frying pan to medium heat.

2. Fry the bacon until lightly browned, then add the remaining butter and honey and toss to combine. Add the bacon mixture to the bread, along with the herbs, lemon rind and chicken stock and mix to combine. Add more stock if necessary for the mixture to become wet and soft. Pack the mixture into a large ramekin or baking dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 200C and cover the stuffing with aluminium foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

4. For the turducken patties, remove the skin from the duck breast, season it well with salt and set aside for later. Roughly chop the chicken thigh fillets (do not remove any of the fat) and the duck breast meat together into a coarse mince. Combine with the turkey mince, the duck fat  and salt, and mix to combine. Form into 6 patties and place on a tray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

5. Heat a little extra duck fat in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the reserved duck skin for about 2-3 minutes each side, pressing down to keep it flat against the pan, until well-browned and crisp. Remove from the pan and slice the crisp duck skin into thin strips. Add the patties to the pan and fry them for about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.

6. To assemble the burgers, toast the buns and spread one side with mustard and the other with mayonnaise. Add a lettuce leaf, a scoop of stuffing, and a patty on top. Add a dollop of cranberry sauce and a scattering of duck skin. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

The RPG sandwich (roast pork and garlic bread).

The RPG sandwich (roast pork and garlic bread). Photo: William Meppem

The RPG Sandwich

Standing for Roast Pork and Garlic bread, the RPG is a heart-stopper of a sandwich from the Catskill Mountains, a couple of hours drive north of New York City. Combining “Chinese” roast pork, “duck sauce” (plum sauce here in Australia) and “Italian” garlic bread, it gained a cult following among many New Yorkers in the 1950s and ’60s.

4 lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 tsp salt

100g butter, softened

10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

6 soft hot dog rolls, split in half enough to open like a clamshell

¼ cup plum sauce

Quick charsiu

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp five spice powder

1 kg boneless pork neck (or belly), cut into 5cm strips

1. For the quick charsiu, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and marinade overnight.

2. The next day, heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the pork strips on top. Roast for 35 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and caramelised. Rest for at least 10 minutes, then slice thinly.

3. Meanwhile, toss the sliced cucumbers with the salt and drain in a sieve for at least 15 minutes. Rinse well with water and drain again, squeezing out any excess liquid.

4. Combine the butter, garlic and parsley and spread on both sides of the roll. Grill the cut sides only under a hot grill until the butter is melted and the bread lightly toasted. Fill the sandwiches with a layer of cucumber and a generous amount of roast pork. Drizzle with the plum sauce and serve.

Serves 6

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