How To Make The Perfect Christmas Sandwich

We asked Chris Leach, the sarnie-mad chef and co-founder of manteca, to share his top tips on making the perfect Christmas sandwich.
The Ultimate Christmas Sandwich
The perfect example of a Christmas sandwich. Photograph: Anton Rodriguez

For Christmas, I get most of my prep done on Christmas eve, which is mainly the sides. I would usually cook one or two different forms of potato: roast and mash, along with some variation of veg and salad – often roast sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts, carrots cooked in butter, braised red cabbage, parmesan parsnips, and a bitter leaf salad. We usually have a porchetta – this is good because it can be a fairly forgiving cut and can stay in the oven at a lower temp cooking when you are opening presents, prepping, assembling Lego or getting drunk. I'm most likely to serve it with a mostarda we make at my restaurant, manteca, and I always like to have stuffing as well. Parsnips and sausage meat stuffing has been the favourite this year.

That sounds like quite a lot but it's all tactical as it's that excess which leads to an excellent Christmas sandwich. Which I personally think is the real main event at Christmas! How do you make the most delicious sandwiches? I think a good sandwich should have all the elements of a great dish – sweet, sour, crunch, soft and differing temperatures – see Max Halley’s rules as the sandwich master.

What Is The Secret To A Good Sandwich?

Mayo. It should always have mayo and, for a Christmas sandwich, you can go all out and really upgrade your mayo by adding ‘nduja with a little extra hit of lemon – this gives you acid and heat. The bread you choose for the sandwich will determine the next steps – for sourdough, I would suggest loading up your ingredients and then cooking the sandwich in a pan with butter so it toasts, flipping the sandwich and weighing it down so it gets nice and caramelised on both sides. Because what is a British Christmas sandwich without butter, eh?

Otherwise, for non-cook sarnies, focaccia or ciabatta are excellent sandwich options or a burger roll is another good choice but you may be limited on filling space or a flour tortilla wrap would also be a good option. The sandwich possibilities are quite literally endless.

My Ultimate Christmas Sandwich Toastie:

  • Wholewheat Sourdough Bread
  • ‘Nduja Mayo
  • Parsnip Stuffing
  • Apple Mostarda
  • Porchetta
  • Cime di Rapa
  • Mature Cheese
  • Pickled Chilli
  • Nap

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