A chopped cheese sandwich is like a cheeseburger that gets chopped and mixed with onions. It’s a really delicious New York meal, you won’t be able to resist making it.
Chopped cheese gained popularity in New York, where it appeared in bodegas in Upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. It’s typically made on a large, hot grill where you would grill burgers, for example. It’s like the cooler brother of a classic cheeseburger. You add the beef onto a hot surface (I used a cast iron skillet) and then press it like a smash burger to caramelize it on one side. You want to leave it still for a couple of minutes so that it can really go golden. Then you start chopping it; hence “chopped” cheese. You add the cheese on top, let it melt, mix it in and done! I wasn’t familiar with this sandwich until I found it while on Instagram. I became immediately obsessed and knew I had to make it.
Bread is a key component in any sandwich. In contrast to people, it’s not only the inside that counts. In a chopped cheese sandwich, the classic choice of bread would be to use a long roll such as a hoagie or hero roll. It’s not set in stone, though. The important thing is that it’s a soft bread rather than a crusty one. You can alternatively use a brioche bun or a potato bun. The other important thing is that you toast the bread to give it even more flavour. I like to toast it with butter in a frying pan over medium heat. I recommend that your bread is toasted and ready by the time the filling is done since it comes together really quickly.
Those Nueva York feels 🗽
When you ask for chopped cheese, they usually wrap it in foil so it remains warm. It’s usually a couple of minutes since they hand it to you until you actually eat it. That means that the buns steam slightly inside the foil, making it softer. That’s really nice for a sandwich like this and makes it nicer to bite into. It’s optional but you know I like to show you all the extras and then you can choose what to do.
For the filling
- 500 g ground beef I used 7% fat
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ⅛ tsp ground cumin
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅙ tsp ground turmeric
- Pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil
- ½ brown onion cut in medium pieces
- 6 sheets of American cheddar
- 3 long soft rolls (hoagie/hero roll) or brioche, potato bread
- Butter to toast the bread
- ¼ iceberg lettuce, in fine slices
- ½ tomato in thin slices
- Mayonnaise and ketchup to taste.
- NOTA: Todo esto pasa muy rápidamente y a fuego alto así que lee con cuidado la receta antes de comenzar para que tengas todo listo.
For the filling
- Mezcla la carne con las especias, sal y pimienta y reserva.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. You can also use a flat grilltop.
- Once it's smoking hot, add vegetable oil and the onion. Mix constantly until slightly golden, it should take a couple of minutes.
- Remove the onion, make sure the pan is still very hot, add more oil and place the ground beef on top.
- Use a dish or burger press to weigh down the meat. Let it become golden for a couple of minutes without moving it around.
- After this time, start chopping the meat with a spatula inside the pan until you have small pieces. You want to do this quickly to prevent the meat from drying.
- Add the onion back in, mix everything together and place the sheets of cheese on top. Give them 30 seconds to melt and mix once again. Remove from the heat.
To assemble de sandwich
- Toast the bread on the inside and outside in a pan over medium heat with a bit of butter.
- Spread mayonnaise on the base of the bread, then add ketchup, lettuce and tomato. Don't forget to add salt.
- On top, add the meat from the skillet and close the bread.
- Optional: for that New York feel, you can wrap the bread in aluminium foil and let it rest like this for a couple of minutes.