Chicken Cranberry On Challah Bread

Saturday night for dinner Lauren and I made an attempt to recreate her favorite sandwich from a local restaurant, Marie Catrib's. The chicken cranberry sandwich on challah bread. Traditional challah bread is a three piece braid eaten mostly as a breakfast bread. Marie Catrib takes that same challah dough and makes it into a loaf.

We basically cheated by using a bread machine. So I won't pretend like I know what I am talking about and tell you exactly how to make it. Here are the basic ingredients. I am drawing a blank on the actual recipe we used because I had to adjust for what I thought the bread machine could handle. Almost everything I found on the internet was for making it by hand:

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/4 cups wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs + 2 egg yolks

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Here is a complete recipe that I have not tried. I am not sure what would make this challah bread since we weren't braiding it, because the ingredients are pretty common to wheat bread. But thats what they call it at Marie Catrib. Oh well.

Two and a half hours later we had bread with no mess which I later determined to be dumb luck. I don't know if it was the eggs or the olive oil, but Sunday I tried making a loaf of wheat bread with the same amount of flour, 3 less eggs, honey instead of olive oil and butter instead of sugar, and the loaf blew up on me. It totally overflowed the bread machine and there was a faint smell of smoke because the dough was touching very hot metal. Back to the sandwich.

Next we took a thin cut chicken breast, marinated it in balsamic vinaigrette and sauteed it for 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. For the cranberry part of the sandwich we took a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, heated in a sauce pan and added a splash of white wine, two tablespoons of brown sugar and the juice of one orange. Once everything was warm and mixed well we poured it into a bowl and stuck it in the freezer so it would thicken.

We then sliced our challah bread, grilled both sides of both pieces in a buttered skillet, added provolone cheese to the top slice and cream cheese to the bottom half. On top of the cream cheese we spread our cranberry sauce, and then laid down our chicken. On top of the provolone we added some baby spinach, then pressed the two sides together and we were done.

The sandwich was easy to make and turned out great. Again, I don't know that what we were calling challah bread made a great deal of difference in how it compares to the real sandwich, because I've never had it. I think the simple fact that we made fresh bread probably made as much a difference as it being this kind of bread instead of that kind.

So if you wanted to make this sandwich with some of your favorite wheat bread I think it would probably turn out fine.