Sunday, October 07, 2007

Grilled Hot Mexican Beef Sandwich Santa Fe

At first glance, this sandwich filling looks like mystery meat. You know, one of those chopped meat fillings that you'd expect to find between two slices of white bread in a 1950s cafeteria.

With the possible exception of tuna salad, I've never had much use for these sandwiches. I'd rather build my own sandwich with meat, red onion, dill pickle and lettuce. There's comfort in taking the mystery out of distasteful ingredients.

While searching for a grilled sandwich last week in Dining By Rail, I ran across this chopped meat sandwich. It was served in the dining cars of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

What I found was a delightful roast beef sandwich. The robust flavor of the roast beef comes through even when mixed with chopped hard cooked egg, minced chili pepper, chopped pimento and shredded Swiss cheese. And the Russian dressing gives the sandwich a nice creamy texture.

No anonymous ingredients here. The sandwich was a hit Saturday at the engine house of the El Dorado Western Railway. I served it with old fashion navy bean soup and cole slaw.


This sandwich is a great way to use leftover roast beef. Santa Fe cooks toasted open faced sandwiches under a red-hot broiler. I adapted the sandwich to engine house cooking by toasting it in a cast iron skillet. I added sliced tomatoes and changed the hot chilies to fresh (from fresh, parboiled).

1 pound cooked roast beef, diced fine
4 hard cooked eggs, chopped
4 hot chilies, chopped fine
1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

Russian dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

Soft butter
12 medium tomato slices
12 slices French or Italian bread

In a medium bowl, mix thoroughly the roast beef, eggs, chilies, pimentos, celery and Swiss cheese. For the dressing combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, chili sauce and hot pepper sauce. Fold dressing into the sandwich filling.

Spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Lay out 6 slices, buttered side down. Divide filling generously on bread slices. Top each sandwich with 2 tomato slices on and top with remaining bread, buttered side up.

Grill sandwiches in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until both sides are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serves 6.


  1. Oh my goodness this sounds yummy. I'm not a huge fan of hot peppers, but maybe some pepperoncini...

    Nice food shot.

  2. Thanks, Hick. I used Anahiems peppers in the sandwich for the guys at the RR last Sat. The filling had a mild zip it, but not hot at all.