Living here in the Chicago area, I feel that the rest of the country is terribly deprived of a delicious thing…
Chicago is known for its excellent pizzas but, I’m telling you there is a sandwich here that beats the pizza! If you haven’t had an Italian beef sandwich, you haven’t truly lived!
Italian Beef is definitely one of my favorite sandwiches and I had never had it, nor even heard of it till moving here from Louisville. It is a unique messy sandwich of thinly sliced, well-seasoned beef, sweet or hot peppers, dripping with spicy au jus, served on a dense long Italian-style crusty roll. Al Ferreri and his family members created it in 1938. Have a look at how it Al did it the Chicago way!
For juiciness, there are varying degrees from dry to soaked:
1. Dry: beef is pulled from the juice with tongs, no juice added.
2. Wet or dipped: the bread is quickly dunked in the juice prior to serving.
3. Juicy: a degree wetter than the first one.
4. Soaked: dripping wet, as sloppy as you can get!
Bill likes the soaked best; dripping wet with plenty of napkins for the juice running down his chin. And when at a restaurant, he likes it topped off with an Italian sausage and then dipped. If you should try it this way, you will probably need a knife and fork as well as extra napkins!
None of that for me: I like my Italian beef dry or wet, not quite as messy and easier to eat; however, I still need a stack of napkins. The outside of the roll will retain its shape for you to hold, while the inside will be soft, absorbing the juice like a sponge.
Italian Beef Sandwiches are great for a crowd. It is definitely one of the tastiest savory sandwiches in America and I hope you try it! It is spicy, it is messy, and it is absolutely the best!
So, now that you’re hungry and wishing for the sandwich, here is the recipe which belonged to Alice, my mother-in-law:
Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich
5-6 pound beef roast; rump, top or bottom round
4-5 green peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup Romano cheese, grated
¼ cup olive oil
2 days preparation:
Rub seasonings on roast, one at a time.
Rub on cheese.
Pour oil in roasting pan.
Roast at 450 degrees for ½ hour.
Turn temperature down to 325 degrees and roast 15 minutes per pound.
It must be roasted rare.
Save the drippings.
Cool and refrigerate over-night.
Next day, add 3 cups water to drippings in roaster.
Core and slice peppers in strips, add to drippings.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
Slice beef paper thin. (see note below)
Add sliced beef and heat thoroughly, adding extra water if necessary, by the half cup so as not to dilute the juice.
Do not over-cook beef.
Do not let the mixture boil after the meat is added.
Serve on Italian-style crusty roll.
Makes about 5 sandwiches per pound.
Pam’s note: This beef needs to be sliced paper thin! I take the roasted beef back to the butcher and have him slice it very thin for me. It also freezes well if you wish!
Just be sure to lean the top half of your body over the table when you eat it and have your napkins handy!
DRIP, DRIP, DRIPPINGLY DELICIOUS!
Have you ever eaten a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich?