Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shake Hands w/ Beef

Leave it to Chicago to figure out how to combine the decadent indulgence of a cheese steak w/ the comforting sensibilities of a home-cooked pot roast.  They don't get much press on the East coast, but these humble hoagies have the sandwich sector on lock in the Midwest.

Chicago-style Italian beef is best enjoyed stuffed inside of a crusty loaf, slathered in its own juices and topped w/ giardiniera for some tang.  While not mandatory, a few slices of provolone elevate the experience as a whole.

Eating it fast before the juices soak completely through the bread makes for an enjoyable, chewy romp.

Chicago Style Italian Beef

4 lbs bottom round beef steaks
1 red bell pepper, 1/2 inch slice
1 green bell pepper, 1/2 inch slice
1 large vidalia onion, 1/2 inch slice
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pkg "Good Seasons" dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 pkg "McKormick" Brown Gravy mix
1/2 cup marsala wine
4-6 cups water
1 oz jar pepperoncini peppers w/ juice
salt & pepper to taste
  1. season the bottom round steaks w/ salt & pepper.  get a large pot over high heat, and add about 2 TBS of canola oil.  work in batches, searing the steaks for about two minutes each side.  remove the seared steaks to a resting rack, and continue w/ the remaining steaks until you are all done.  if you overcrowd the pot, the meat will steam -- not sear -- and you won't develop the desired deep color and flavor. 
  2. once all the steaks are seared and resting on the rack, add 2 TBS canola oil and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic over medium-high heat until they just start to caramelize -- about 8-10 minutes.  add the Italian salad dressing and brown gravy mixes.  cook for an additional two minutes.  add marsala wine and cook  
  3. down until almost fully reduced.  return the meat to the pot w/ the sautéed vegetables and seasonings.  add the entire jar of pepperoncini peppers w/ their juice.  add 4-6 cups water, or enough to cover by about an inch.
  4. bring to a boil -- reduce to a simmer.  simmer partially covered for 4-5 hours.  make sure to stir once every 30 minutes.  add more water as necessary if the contents becomes too dry.  

© 2011 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -