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Beef/ Hearty Dinners

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich

June 19, 2023 by Chris Collins

Here I’ll share some tips and tricks for creating the most irresistible steak sandwich!

There are many different ways you can make a steak sandwich. Different toppings, bread, sauces etc. This is the way I’ve made it for years and it never fails. Plus, you don’t need any fancy ingredients! Follow me…

close up overhead shot of hand holding steak sandwich showing filling

Caramelised Onions

One of the key ingredients in this steak sandwich is caramelised onions. They offer sweetness to the sandwich, which balances out the rich sauce (which we’ll get to in a sec). Steak is quick to cook, but unfortunately caramelised onions are not.

Low ‘n’ slow

Caramelising onions is all about gently frying them over a low heat for a long period of time to tickle out their natural sugars. When the sugars come to the surface they then caramelise in the pan. The lower and slower you fry them, the softer, sweeter and stickier they’ll be!

Can I make these ahead of time?

Yes. In fact I often make them ahead of time, given the rest of the sandwich is quite quick to whip up. Just allow them to completely cool then tightly store in the fridge until it’s sandwich time.

Process shots: add butter and oil to pan (photo 1), add onion and fry (photo 2), add sugar, balsamic vinegar and s&p (photo 3), continue frying (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to caramelise onions

Steak

Once the onions are out of the way, it’s time to get cracking with the steak.

What kind of steak should I use?

I typically go for Sirloin or Rump, just because they’re cheap and accessable (I did promise no fancy ingredients!). You can grab a better quality/more expensive cut of beef if you’d prefer.

Preparing the steak

The main thing is that you prep and cook the steak properly. Here’s some tips for preparing the steak:

  • Room temp – Get the steak out the fridge at least 30 mins before needed. This will relax the meat and help it cook through evenly.
  • Dry – Remove excess moisture with kitchen roll. This will help the steak caramelise in the pan without steaming.
  • Season – Generously season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. No other seasonings needed!

Cooking the steak

  • Pan – Use a heavy-based or cast-iron pan so you can cook the steak over very-high heat. This will help build a nice crust without overcooking the centre.
  • Baste – Baste the steaks in butter. Add rosemary, garlic and thyme for a boost of flavour.
  • Rest – Resting the steak after it has cooked will allow it to retain its juices.

Process shots: pat steak dry (photo 1), season (photo 2), fry (photo 3), flip (photo 4), add butter/herbs/garlic (photo 5), baste (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to cook steak

Best Sauce for Steak Sandwich

After the steak has cooked, leave everything in the pan except the steak. The leftover fat will add heaps of flavour to the sauce, as will the herbs and garlic!

Blue Cheese Sauce

This goes so perfectly in this steak sandwich. The rich, tangy flavours mingle so perfectly with the sweet onions. Plus, steak and blue cheese sauce are a match made in heaven! It’s not overly ‘blue cheesy’, so even if you’re not sure, please give it a go.

What kind of blue cheese should I use?

I usually go for Saint Agur as I find it to be perfect balance of rich and creamy. If you want something more powerful go for a Stilton, if you’re looking for something a bit more mild go for Gorgonzola.

Process shots: remove steaks (photo 1), add cream and beef stock (photo 2), add blue cheese and chives (photo 3), simmer to thicken (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to make blue cheese sauce for steak

Steak Sandwich Bread

The bread is important, so don’t go slapping all of this goodness in some soft white sandwich bread!

I highly recommend using ciabatta. Ciabatta works really well because it’s light and airy, but it also crisps up really well. This offers the perfect ‘container’ for the meatiness of the steak.

Process shots: slice ciabatta (photos 1&2), brush with oil (photo 3), toast under grill (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to toast ciabatta

Steak Sandwich

Okay, nearly there! Just a few other goodies to add.

Steak sandwich fillings

  • Caramelised onions – These will go on the base on the sandwich.
  • Tomatoes – I like using Beef tomatoes, but any type of fresh/ripe tomatoes will do the trick. Make sure you season them!
  • Rocket – Aka ‘arugula’. The pepperiness works really nicely here.
  • Steak – After it has rested, thinly slice it at an angle and against the natural grain of the meat (for optimal tenderness).
  • Sauce – Measure this with love!

Can I make this ahead of time?

This must be served fresh, otherwise the steak will dry out and the sauce will turn the sandwich soggy!

Process shots: top ciabatta with onions (photo 1), top with tomato (photo 2), top with rocket (photo 3), top with steak (photo 4), top with sauce (photo 5), top with ciabatta (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make a steak sandwich

Serving a Steak Sandwich

This will offer 2 very big hearty sandwiches, or 4 regular sized ones if you halve them. If you’re serving as 4 I recommend a Side.

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this steak sandwich shall we?!

two steak sandwiches stacked on each other with sauce dripping out

How to make the best Steak Sandwich (Full Recipe & Video)

two steak sandwiches stacked on each other with sauce dripping out

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich

Here I'll share some tips and tricks for creating the most irresistible steak sandwich!
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Lunch / Main Course
Cuisine: Western
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Calories per serving: 794kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4

Equipment:

  • Large Heavy-Based Pan, Wooden Spoon & Tongs (for onions/steak)
  • Baking Tray, Small Pot & Brush (for toasting bread)
  • Small Bowl (to store onions)
  • Kitchen Roll (for drying steak)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board

Ingredients (check list):

Steak & Sauce

  • 2x 8oz/225g Steaks, at room temp (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp / 30g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 large sprig of Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, left in skins and lightly crushed
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup Beef Stock
  • 240ml / 1 cup Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
  • 100g / 3.5oz Blue Cheese, crumbled (see notes)
  • 1 heaped tbsp Fresh Chives
  • Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Pepper, as needed

Caramelized Onions

  • 400g / 14oz Red Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp EACH: Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Sandwich

  • 2x Ciabatta Rolls
  • 1-2 Beef Tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 pinches of Rocket/Arugula
  • Olive Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Pepper, as needed

Instructions:

  • Caramelised Onions: Add butter and olive oil to a pan over medium heat, then add in the onions. Fry for 15mins, stirring somewhat frequently, until the onions turn soft and golden. Stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt & pepper, then lower the heat slightly. Continue frying for another 15-20mins, or until completely soft, sticky and sweet. If any fond (flavour/char) builds up in the pan at any point, just add a dash of water and use your wooden spoon to scrape it off. The lower and slower you fry the softer and sweet the onions will be. Remove onions from pan when done.
  • Prep Steak: Pat both sides of the steaks dry then generously season all over with salt & pepper.
  • Cook Steak: Place a large heavy-based/cast-iron pan over high heat. Once the pan is smoking hot (literally) add a drizzle of oil. Leave for 10 seconds, then add in the steaks. Fry for 2mins (should see blood/moisture rise to the surface). Flip then fry for 1 minute. Add in the butter, rosemary, garlic & thyme and baste the steaks for a further minute. Remove steaks from pan & leave to rest (important) and thinly slice just before needed. Leave herbs and garlic in the pan.
  • Sauce: Lower heat to medium and pour in the stock and cream. Scrape off any flavour from the pan, then stir in blue cheese and chives. Simmer for around 5 mins, stirring somewhat frequently, or until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened. Pour in the resting juices from the steak and remove the garlic/rosemary/thyme. Simmer for a minute or so until it re-thickens. It will thicken, just keep simmering/stirring (it will thicken more as it rests).
  • Bread: Whilst it's simmering halve the bread and place cut-side-up on a baking tray. Brush with 1 tbsp oil then place under the grill until golden and crisp.
  • Sandwich: Top the bottom slice of ciabatta with caramelised onions, followed by tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top with rocket, then steak, then blue cheese sauce (measured with love). Pop the lid on, slice in half and enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Steak - I typically use Sirloin or Rump, just because they're accessible and cheap. You can use a more expensive cut though if you'd prefer. Main thing is you prep it properly (room temp, dry, heavy season).
b) Steak Timings - For medium-rare I find 2 mins on each side for a 2cm steak does the trick. Reduce/increase by 30 seconds for rare/medium. Really important you let the steak rest for at least 5 mins before slicing, otherwise the juices will all pour out.
c) Blue Cheese - I like Saint Agur as I find it's the perfect balance of rich and creamy. If you want something more powerful go for a Stilton, if you're looking for something a bit more mild go for Gorgonzola.
d) Blue Cheese Sauce - This makes quite a lot, probably more than you'll need (although I won't judge). Allow leftovers to cool then tightly store in the fridge for 3-4 days. It is a rich sauce, but works so well in the sandwich with the sweetness of the onions and tomato. It's unlikely you'll want to add salt, but you can add some black pepper if you'd like. 
e) Caramelised Onions - These are key to add sweetness to the sandwich. You can make these ahead of time and tightly store in the fridge until needed (they can last up to a week). 
f) Ciabatta -I grabbed a 270g pack of 'half ciabattas' from Sainsburys, so use that as the size reference. Ciabatta works really well because it's lightly, airy and crisps up really well. 
g) Frying Pan - I usually use a non-stick pan for the onions and a cast-iron for the steak. You can can use a cast-iron for the onions too, they're just more prone to sticking. Just add a dash of water to the pan anytime you see them catching. Don't use a non-stick pan for the steak, you need a heavy-based pan to get it super hot!
h) Serving - This gives two big hearty sandwich, for 4 regular sandwiches when halved. If you're serving 4 for a main, consider a Side to go with it!
i) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 with no sides.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
The Ultimate Steak Sandwich
Amount Per Serving
Calories 794 Calories from Fat 455
% Daily Value*
Fat 50.5g78%
Saturated Fat 27.219g136%
Trans Fat 0.591g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.815g
Monounsaturated Fat 18.023g
Cholesterol 197mg66%
Sodium 941mg39%
Potassium 817mg23%
Carbohydrates 48.52g16%
Fiber 4.3g17%
Sugar 8.04g9%
Protein 38.61g77%
Vitamin A 1626IU33%
Vitamin C 12.5mg15%
Calcium 286mg29%
Iron 4.85mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

For another steak recipe check out my Steak & Creamy Mushroom Sauce!

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