Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Italian Beef

Italian Beef
The Italian Beef is a version of the French Dip.  It was created by the Italian immigrants who worked in Chicago’s stockyards.  The beef for the authentic sandwich is slow roasted and an au jus created from the pan drippings. It is topped with giardiniera, a relish made of pickled vegetables.  The entire sandwich is then dipped in the au jus before being served.  It is a sloppy, delicious mess.

This is my version of an Italian Beef.  It may seem like a lot of work for a sandwich, but trust me it is worth it.  And this is about 500 (billion) times easier than making a genuine Chicago Garlic Hot Wet Beef (which is how you would order this.)
Servings: 4 sandwiches (enough to serve 8)
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes   Cooking:  2 hours (active time 10 minutes)
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, a gallon plastic bag, a large pot, a sieve, a large bowl, tongs, a spatula, a baking sheet and foil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (maybe more)
  • 1 ½ pounds the best deli roast beef cold cut slices you can afford (I used Boar’s Head Londonport)
  • 4 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 32 ounces low sodium beef stock
  • Beef shank (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons garlic butter
  • ¼ pound thin sliced provolone cheese
  • 4-6 tablespoons hot, cherry pepper hoagie spread (I use Cento)
  • 4 hoagie rolls

  1.  Place the meat, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the Italian seasoning and the pepper flakes into the plastic bag. Shake to make sure the slices separate and are coated with seasoning.  You may need to add more oil. Place in the fridge until needed.
  2. If you are using the beef shank cut the bone open so that the marrow is exposed.  Place the shank, stock, crushed garlic, bay leafs, and the rest of the Italian seasoning into the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the broth to a low simmer.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.  If you simmer it low enough this should take about 1 ½ hours.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚.  Cover the sheet in foil.  Cut the rolls open, but not through.  Spread them with garlic butter and toast in the hot oven until they are lightly browned (like garlic toast.)  This takes about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through the sieve. Return the liquid to the pot.  Discard the stuff you strained out. Pour the lunch meat into the hot liquid.
  5. Use the tongs to pile meat onto the garlic toast. It is okay if it is messy. Spread with hot pepper spread.  Top each sandwich with slices of cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts, another 2 minutes.
  6. Serve each sandwich with a small dipping bowl of the broth.
Chicago Tradition-Southern Style

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