Back 40

Created by:

Aaron Mullins — Minneapolis, MN

With all the makings of a Midwest farm, the Back 40 is a sandwich that’s packed with both flavorful and colorful ingredients. The sandwich is comprised of beets, yams, venison steaks and Wisconsin gorgonzola and provolone cheeses, all between two pieces of sourdough bread.


Make a marinade for venison: Melt butter in medium pan; add onion; sauté 3 minutes over medium heat until translucent, but not browned. Add garlic and sauté additional 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, hard cider, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, paprika, chili powder and cinnamon; simmer over medium heat 15 minutes. Cool marinade completely. Add venison; marinate in refrigerator 2-8 hours.

For pickled beets: Cook beets in boiling water, 25-30 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain and place beets in ice bath until cool. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Mix vinegar, water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon stick in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Drain pickling liquid into glass jar or bowl; add beet slices, cover and refrigerate. Beets may be refrigerated up to 24 hours.

For yam patties: Form yams into 2 patties. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until lightly browned, flipping once to brown both sides. Drain on paper towel.

To assemble: Remove venison from marinade and pat dry. Heat medium gas or charcoal grill; cook venison approximately 4 minutes per side. Set aside. Lightly brush olive oil on 1 side of each bread slice. Grill over medium, oil-side-down, about 2 minutes, until slices have defined grill marks. Flip bread; place a yam patty on 2 of the slices. Top with gorgonzola, venison and layer of provolone. Grill 4 additional minutes (or until cheese melts). Simultaneously, grill beet tops separately 1-2 minutes. Remove bread; place 2 slices with cheese on plate. Top with drained beet slices and greens. Place remaining slices over to complete sandwich.



For Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup hard cider
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 venison rib chop steaks (about 10 1/2 ounces total)

For Pickled Beets:

  • 3 beets (reserve and set aside greens from 2)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For Yam Patties:

  • 1 large yam, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For Assembly:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2/3 cup (4 ounces) creamy Wisconsin Gorgonzola cheese
  • 4 1-ounce slices Wisconsin Provolone cheese
  • Oil
  • Reserved greens from 2 beet tops
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