Thursday, June 9, 2011

Open Faced Steak Sandwich Topped with Sautéed Celery Root and Leeks Paired with 2006 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot

For quite some time now, I have wanted to construct a pairing that featured pureed celery root.  Unfortunately, the celery root has not been available for several weeks (at least while I was visiting the grocery).  Well, I found celery root yesterday, and came close to making the celery root puree.  I say almost because as I looked at the stock in the fridge I found a leftover steak from the weekend grill-fest and decided to do something with it – and include the celery root.  The result was an open faced steak sandwich with a mound of sautéed celery root and leeks, oh, and a little cheese to hold the mound of flavor in place.

This wonderful little sandwich is rich in umami and layered with the aromatic celery flavors from the celery root and just a touch of piquance from the cayenne.  Warming the leftover steak in the beef broth was a key part of the process which “rehydrated” the steak and made things nice and juicy.

These flavors were joyously complimented with dark and vibrant flavors of blueberry and pepper supported by soft tannins in the 2006 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot.  This Merlot is silky smooth and perfectly echoed the flavors in the sandwich.

2006 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot-2

I have to admit that like the dish, the pairing was not planned in advance.  Similar to the steak, the 2006 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma County Merlot was a leftover – we tapped into this bottle the night before to enjoy just a taste of our recent shipment from Benziger Family Winery.  We joined the Benziger Family Winery wine club during our January trip to California, and were ecstatic to find this Merlot living up to the wonderful experience we had while visiting the winery in Sonoma County.  We thoroughly enjoyed every wine we tasted, and I highly recommend you give them a visit at



  • 1 leftover steak sliced in to 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 loaf of par baked bread (or make your own from scratch)
  • 1/2 medium sized celery root coarsely grated
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup grated cheese (your choice of cheese, but I recommend something mild)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Finish baking the par baked bread, in my case it was 15 minutes in a 375 degree preheated oven.
  2. Coat the bottom of a small pan with olive oil and place on medium high heat.
  3. Add leeks and cayenne pepper.  Sauté for about one minute.
  4. Add the grated celery root and sauté until tender.  Season with salt and pepper then remove from heat and set aside.
  5. If you time this right, your bread should be done now.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. In a medium sauce pan, bring two cups of beef broth to a simmer.  Just before you are ready to assemble the sandwich, add the steak strips to the broth and warm through.  The idea is simply to warm the meat, not cook it.
  7. Cut the bread into 1 inch or so slices.  In my case, the steak made three sandwiches which miraculously meant three slices.
  8. Assemble the sandwich by laying slices of steak across the bread, adding a stack of the celery root and leek sauté and lightly coating with grated cheese.
  9. Place the sandwiches on sheet pan and place under the broiler until the cheese melts. 1-2 minutes.
  10. Remove from broiler and plate with a small saucer of the beef broth (for dunking bread).
  11. This is somewhat of a “vertical” sandwich, so bring along a fork and knife.

My apologies for the lack of photography with this post.  It was a last minute thought and last minute happy coincidence.  However, if you give this pairing a go the next time you have a leftover steak in the fridge, I’m confident it will make up for the lack of pretty pictures.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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