Friday, September 16, 2011

RECIPE - Hot Hole Sandwich (Sanduiche Buraco Quente)

This Brazilian snack-bar and luncheonette classic is Brazil's answer to the Sloppy joe. A mixture of seasoned ground beef inside a french roll, the hot hole sandwich is a perfectly packaged quick meal or between meal snack. The somewhat suggestive name (it's just as suggestive in Portuguese as it is in English) in fact is nothing more than a quick description of what the sandwich is and how it works.

To make a hot hole sandwich you need the filling (recipe below) and a good quality french roll, about the right size to fit comfortably in your hand. Brazilians eat french rolls by the bazillions every day, and most Brazilians wouldn't consider sitting down to breakfast unless there are some fresh french rolls on the table. Although Brazilians agree that they all love these rolls, they can't agree on what to call them. In Ceará, Flavor of Brazil's home state, they're called pão carioquinha (little carioca bread). In Rio de Janeiro, where the real cariocas live, they call them simply pão francês (French bread). Elsewhere, they are variously pão de sal (salt bread), pão massa grossa (thick dough bread), pão careca (bald bread) and cacetinho (little club).

Whatever they are called, these rolls (pictured at right) are the basis of a hot hole sandwich. A Brazilian french roll normally has a hard, crunchy crust and a very light, fluffy interior. To compile a hot hole sandwich, the roll is cut in two down the middle vertically. The halves are hollowed out, leaving only the crust (this is the hole in the hot hole). Then hot crumbled ground beef is packed into the halves (this is the hot in the hot hole) and the sandwich is served, ready to eat in the hand.

Good quality french rolls are almost universally available, so this recipe is easy to make and is very family- and kid-friendly. Almost nobody doesn't like a hot hole sandwich, with the obvious exception of vegetarians and vegans. It's also something that's easy to make for a crowd and the recipe can be doubled, tripled or more. A perfect picnic food, just as long as you can reheat the filling or keep it hot, and you make sure that the rolls are fresh and still crunchy.
RECIPE - Hot Hole Sandwich (Sanduiche Buraco Quente)
Makes 4 sandwiches

1/2 cup stuffed green olives, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz (3/4 lb, 300 gr) good-quality lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
4 crusty french rolls, heated in the oven to harden the crusts if necessary
In a small mixing bowl combine the olives, the parsley and the chopped egg. Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan, add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, until all traces of pink have disappeared. Drain excess fat if desired before continuing.

Add the onion, garlic and tomato to the ground beef in the frying pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is transparent and the tomato has begun to break up. Remove from heat and stir in the olive, parsley and egg mixture. Mix thoroughly, then add the grated cheese and mix again. Reserve, keeping hot.

Cut the rolls in half, pull out the interior crumb with your fingers, then pack the crusts with the reserved ground meat mixture. Serve immediately, two halves per person.

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