A new Christmas gift from my father in law and a lazy kind of football viewing day finally inspired me. So on New Year’s Day I decided to deal with my current craving for Chicago style Italian beef sandwiches. I went out and found a 3lb. beef bottom round roast. I made a rub with oregano, basil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and roasted it for about 2.5 hours (wanted it a little rare and underdone). I added about a quart of water to the bottom of the roasting pan for the gravy. Once the beef was out and resting, I poured the gravy (T says northwesterners would call it an au jus) into a sauce pot and realized that it needed a little more flavoring, so I added some beef stock to it. I let the roast rest for about 30 minutes and then using my brand new meat slicer, shaved it into thin pieces (best to put the beef in the freezer for about 30 mins before slicing, makes it much easier we found out along the way).
During the 3rd quarter of the Rose Bowl, we combined the meat with the gravy, made some crinkle cut fries, warmed some salsa con queso (our fav place in Chicago serves their beef with crinkle cut fries and cheese sauce so this is our attempt to quench our true Chicago experience as we can get) and toasted some crusty French rolls.
The culmination was putting the beef on the toasted rolls, soaking the rolls with gravy and topping the beef with IL Primo hot mix giardiniera (company from St. Charles, Il whose product I found at an Italian grocery at the Pike Place Market...hot peppers, onion, celery, carrots, etc....really makes the beef sandwich to be more authentic and delicious), a side of fries and a ramekin of fake cheese (for dipping the fries in).
It was pretty good, admittedly though, I am out of practice of making this dish and something just seemed to be missing. (T was convinced it needed more garlic and maybe some garlic powder.)
It was enough to satisfy my craving that I acquired growing up in the Chicago-land area eating at places like Portillos (which we have mail ordered usually 1-3 times a year to get our regular beef fix), Vienna shops, Al’s, and other beef joints there.
And T told me this would be a good chance for me to do my first post on our new blog. So far it's been fun..we hope to get a few more followers along the way too.