Friday, October 20, 2017

Chef Bolek's Italian Beef Sandwiches

The Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwich has been on Chef Bolek's "Bucket List" for a very long time.  It all began with a trip to Chicagoland.  I was visiting my sister and her family, and, we went to a place called Portillo's.  I had my first Chicago-Style Italian Beef sandwich there.  It was amazing.  

Fast forward several years later, and, my beautiful Angel bought me a roast from a local store.  My mind immediately turned to making Italian Beef Sandwiches out of that roast.  So, I did what I always do, and that is to set out and learn about what I am going to make.

The origin of the Chicago-style Italian Beef Sandwich appears to be somewhat lost to history, although there are some who claim to know how the sandwich came to be.  Generally speaking, the sandwich was created by Italian immigrants who came to Chicago to work in the stockyards.  They were only able to afford the tougher cuts of beef, which they would roast in a pan with beef stock.  Once the roast was cooked, they would slice it thinly, dip the meat back in the juices, and then pile it onto bread with some giardiniera (which is a relish of carrots, cauliflower, olives, and peppers in vinegar.  Once the sandwich was prepared, it would also be dipped into the juices).  If you want to learn more about the history of this sandwich, you can cheek out Thrillist or Amazing Ribs

I wanted to get to making this sandwich.  The recipe is relatively easy to make.  I created my own Italian style rub -- basil, oregano, garlic, onion, salt and pepper -- and then marinated the meat overnight.  The next day, I roasted the meat until it was medium rare and then set it aside as I strained the jus from the bottom of the roasting pan for the dipping.  After the beef rested, I sliced it thinly, piled it high on a bun and added some hand-chopped giardiniera.  The end result was as delicious as the sandwiches I had in Chicago.  

Recipe Inspired by Many Others
Serves a lot

1 (4 to 5 pound) top sirloin roast, sirloin tip roast or other roast
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/3 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup beef broth or stock, plus more for jus
1 bottle of giardiniera, drained
Sub rolls

1.  Prepare the roast.  Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, rosemary, basil and oregano.   Spread the rub over the roasts, making sure that all sides of the roast are covered.  Wrap the roast and refrigerate overnight. 

2.  Roast the beef.  Place the beef in a roasting pan.  Add 1/2 cup of beef broth or beef stock.   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast the beef until it is medium rare, about 145 degrees.  This will take about one and one-half hours.  Remove the roast from the oven and the pan.  Tent with foil and let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes.  

3.  Toast the rolls.  While the meat is resting, brush olive oil on the sub rolls and toast them for about one to two minutes under the broiler. 

4.  Prepare the giardiniera.  Chop the various vegetables in the giardiniera, until they are small pieces.  Place in a bowl and set aside.   

3.  Finish the dish.  Strain the juices from the roasting pan and set aside.  If you need more as an au jus, stir in some warm beef stock or broth.  Slice the beef into thin slices.  Dip the slices into the au jus and place on the bun.  Spoon over the chopped giardiniera over the beef and serve with a small dipping container of au jus.


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