Baby Bella and Sauteed Onion Sandwich with Fontina and Au Jus
We just got through eating this quasi-vegetarian meal (the au jus disqualifies this from being truly vegetarian!). WOW is our reaction. We are in love! Don’t forget to try the squash side dish if you feel you need more veggies!
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and heat until the butter has melted. Add 4 chopped onions and mix through. Drop the heat to low and cover with a lid. Allow the onions to sauté, stirring only very occasionally, for 45 minuets (will be a total of 1 hour). Add the Baby Bella mushrooms to the onions and sauté with the onions for the last 15 minutes of the cooking time. Add salt and pepper to taste at end of cooking. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and heat until the butter had melted. Add 1/2 chopped onion and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes. Add garlic, 5 sprigs of thyme, dried herbs and crushed red pepper and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, taking care not the burn the garlic and pepper. Add the bay leaf and beef broth and crank up the heat to high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain out the au jus and pour into 4 separate bowls for dipping.
Sandwich build: Lay the French bread pieces out and layer one side with the fancy cheese. Add the sautéed Bella mushrooms and the (super-caramelized and delicious) onions and cover with the other piece of bread. Grill on a stovetop grill over medium high heat using a heavier pan on top of the sandwich to press (or use a panini press). Cook the sandwich through until the cheese melts, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve sandwiches next to the au jus. Dip and eat!
Bonus side veggie dish: Marinate squash in garlic (powder or fresh), lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper for 1 hour. Preheat broiler on high. Broil squash for 3 - 4 minutes per side, until slightly charred. Serve hot!