In honor of the Cubs new training facility opening in the Valley, I decided to publish my recipe for a legendary Chicago sandwich-the Italian beef. There’s plenty of sandwiches that sort of define a city-the Philly cheesesteak, the muffalata, the pit beef and many more. While the true origins of this dish aren’t completely clear, the Italian beef sandwich has been a staple on Chicago menus since the 1920′s.
It’s roots probably lie in the Italian immigrants that worked at the old Union Stockyards. They would take home the lesser-quality cuts of beef and be tasked with making something amazing-and they certainly succeeded. We now have several Chicago themed restaurants out here to cater to the many Midwest transplants. Be advised that this is a two-day recipe.
I like to use a whole sirloin for my roast, some people use rounds but in my humble opinion it’s too sinewy and chewy. Here is the one and only recipe of this posting, the Italian spice blend that you will use with a rather heavy hand:
One part @ ground black pepper, granulated onion
Two parts @ salt, granulated garlic, dry basil, dry oregano
I add a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper too.
You’ll need a whole sirloin roast, maybe nine pounds, a large onion and a can of beef broth. Get a roasting pan that has a similar footprint as your roast (too big a pan will cause too much evaporation of the jus).
Preheat oven to 300. Trim the roast and put the trimmings in the pan, then slice the onion and layer evenly in the pan as well. Add the beef broth to the pan as well as a tablespoon or two of the spice blend. Coat your roast very well with the spice blend, place on top on the onions and broth, and roast in the oven until you hit 130 degrees.
The beef will need to cool before refrigerating. You’ll now strain the pan contents and refrigerate the liquid and the roast once cooled.
The next day I like to skim the fat from the collected jus, then add any jus that have developed overnight with the roast. Slice the roast as thin as possible, a meat slicer is definitely preferred.
In the meantime, you’ll heat up the collected jus in a pot and this is how you will heat up the meat for your sandwiches. Once the jus has come to temperature put the beef in and heat through. You’re now ready to stuff into buns. I prefer a ‘cheef’ just put some provolone on top, along with some hot giardineria, and toast under the broiler.