Toward the end of my advertising career, I traveled for a client meeting to a nondescript nowhere city in the Midwest. I was forced to endure an awkward coworker/client dinner at a steakhouse, where I witnessed a coworker request “French Onion Soup…..but I don’t want the onions. Can you strain those out, and just give me the broth?” I’ll always remember it as the moment when I decided to quit my job and go to culinary school.
I’m bringing ALL OF THE ONIONS to this fall’s tailgates. In fact, I’m getting rid of the broth from the soup altogether, and just making a French Onion Chicken Sandwich.
My in-laws are Michigan Football tailgating professionals, and my father-in-law always mans the grill. He doesn’t stick to just basic burgers and hot dogs – he’s also been known to grill up gyros, or throw a wok on the grill and be a one man stir fry machine. And yes, we even got him a chef’s hat:
That “we can make anything!” tailgating spirit inspired me to create this sandwich, which in turn was inspired by the interaction that finally sent me over the edge and made me change career paths. Double inspiration!
It’s a little something different, but it’s actually no more complicated than making grilled chicken sandwiches. The onions can be caramelized up to three days in advance and just kept in the fridge until the party starts, when you can gently reheat them in either a microwave or a small pan on the grill. Grill up your chicken, then top it with Swiss cheese and the onions for hearty french onion chicken sandwiches that taste like soup!
French Onion Chicken Sandwiches
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved crosswise and pounded to 1-inch thickness, if necessary
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
- 2 cups baby spinach
- In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sugar; cook 25 minutes or until onions are deeply caramelized, stirring frequently. This step can be done up to 3 days in advance. Re-warm onions in microwave or in a small pan on grill before proceeding.
- Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Spray chicken with nonstick spray. Transfer chicken to hot grill rack; cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color throughout and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, turning once.
- Place cheese slices on chicken pieces. Cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Build sandwiches using hamburger buns, spinach, chicken and caramelized onions.