Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Hoagies on Homemade Focaccia

As I was setting out to investigate football foods, I thought: can you really sit down to enjoy a big game without a sandwich?  Sure chips and dip, soups, chili's, and stews are all great- but isn't there some thing about clinging on to a sandwich with both hands as your team defends it's position and tension is high, and then tearing off a bite with your teeth- a feeling just as animalistic as a great tackle on the field- right? 

I might be stretching, just a tad with that one, but the sandwiches I settled on for our football viewing party were worth a lot more! I decided to get them started on my favorite "guilty pleasure" sandwich bread- Focaccia.  I am a ridiculous freak for Focaccia- it's crisp exterior blending into a pillowy soft yet thin interior has just the texture contrast I love.  Baked with olive oil, earthy rosemary, spicy pepper and a sprinkling of salt the flavor profile separates this from just a typical bread to something truly special.

I decided several things about these sandwiches- first, I would make the bread from scratch.  It's time that I become more comfortable with breads, and since my love of Focaccia is so great, I should be able to make a good one.  Second- I wanted to make them vegetarian.  Football food, and perhaps rightly so, is often very meat heavy, and it relegates our vegetarian friends to chips and dip while the rest of the party noshes on meatballs, sliders and Italian hoagies.  Silliness.  These sandwiches were just as warm and comforting as a big meatball sub, jam packed with flavor, and veggie friendly!

I found a recipe on King Arthur (of course) that I knew would be both easy (because I remain a baking wimp), and delicious.  I set to work on the bread, and let me tell you- the recipe was pretty fool proof.  It all got slapped together in no time, while I concentrated on other tasks.  

Focaccia Bread (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 cups (approximately) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons each- black pepper, salt
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Add 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour. Stir with a whisk and let this sit for 10 minutes to give the yeast a chance to get going.
Add the salt and the whole wheat flour. Add the rest of the all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough has formed a smooth ball. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down, and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Stretch the dough into a 14-inch circle and place on a greased baking sheet. Let it rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F while the focaccia is rising. Dimple it with your fingers and place it in the oven. Evenly spread the dough with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. 
After the bread had cooled, I cut it into squares  (approximately 4" x 4") and then stuffed them with roasted Portobello mushrooms, roasted red and orange bell peppers and a slice of Provolone cheese.  I baked them off for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese had fully melted, and then devoured.  
These sandwiches were simple, but truly delicious.  The simplicity of the roasted vegetables paired with the gooey cheese and then stuffed into the flavorful homemade bread was a combination worth its salt.  They were hearty and satisfying, providing all of the toothsome feel you want when savagely ripping into them...or daintily eating them as a lady would. 
Go Pats! 


Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

This focaccia looks incredible!! I made it once but stupidly did not make sandwiches with it -- fantastic idea!


These look super delicious! As a vegetarian, I am always looking for great, non-meat, game day foods!

In and Around Town said...

I have never made focaccia but obviously that needs to change! These sandwiches look delicious.

Aimee said...

These were so good. I wish I had one in my hand right now! You're a great baker, Fiona! xo

Delicious Dishings said...

Such a great idea to have something veggie-laden to balance out all the chili, nachos, and sliders that are usually eaten during football games.

Michelle Collins said...

Wow, this looks good. I could really go for a slice of that right now!

csr said...

You've elevated game time treats to a whole new level! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

dan said...

This sandwich looks awesome, and I hate to be a stickler, but i'm not sure you can call this a hoagie. It needs to be on a sub roll. Blog Police!

Boston Food Diary said...

Blog Police- you are absolutely accurate- I stand VERY corrected- and I apologize. Accept a sandwich as my fine?

Jen said...

This bread (and the sandwiches) were so good!

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