Every good Chicagoan knows that while deep-dish pizza may be the first Chicago food that comes to the minds of out-of-towners, the TRUE Chicagoan’s favorite food is the Italian Beef Sandwich! Luscious garlicky sliced beef baked with Italian seasonings, dipped in au jus and piled high on a warm Italian roll, topped with sweet or hot peppers (and sometimes ooey-gooey Mozzarella or Provolone cheese)….. YUM!

Chicago-Style Italian BeefAlthough recipes on the internet abound for Italian Beef sandwich “clones,” most use a crock-pot method which yields a mushy, stringy, sub-standard beef sandwich.

I found this recipe quite by accident while Googling recipes for my favorite foods on the internet (what can I say—food obsession runs in the genes!) This one really piqued my interest! No all day cooking in a crock pot? No stringy chuck roast imposter? A true roasted beef with Italian seasonings? I just HAD to give it a try!  Click for recipe.

Oddly enough, the roast was on sale at my local market: buy one – get one free! A sign from the Chicago gods, perhaps?

Quite excited, I baked up the roast per the instructions above and… Viola — the BEST home-made Italian Beef Sandwiches EVER!!!  These were almost as good as those we Chicagoans know and love!

Although I don’t have a meat slicer to get my slices paper-thin, I do pretty good with a sharp knife! [Uh huh. Is this where I tell everyone she sliced off the end of her finger once?] I would even consider purchasing a meat slicer for home use just for this recipe!!

My husband, who will tell you exactly what he thinks of a recipe when asked [yeah, he’s not really shy], was so impressed with these, he actually bragged about how good they were to friends and family!Oven Ready Italian Beef

Now I double the batch, freeze the meat for 15-20 minutes to make it easier to slice, and put dinner portions in zip top bags for the freezer. I also portion the beef “gravy” and freeze this, as well. When we need an easy dinner, I just pull out a bag of sliced Italian Beef and a container of gravy and thaw for dinner! (You can make an extra batch of gravy by bringing a can of beef broth with the seasoning mixture to a soft boil. This will yield more gravy if you, like me, like your sandwich completely dipped and sloppy!) [That’s called “wet” when you order in the restaurant.]

Try this recipe and enjoy a true Chicago favorite!

~Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s sis)

[Munchies’ Note: I LOVE Italian Beef sandwiches, and it’s one of the things I miss most about living in Kansas City. I used to eat at Luke’s regularly when I was in high school, and have been known to stop at Luke’s on the way to Mom’s when we drive into town. Portillo’s is another favorite for Italian Beef, Chicago dogs and cheese fries. I’ve found a pretty good Italian Beef sandwich at The Pizza Man in Lenexa, and they’ve got the good Chicago dogs as well.

I made these for dinner recently but wasn’t sure what to expect. The Pretty One didn’t like the beef when he tried it in Chicago years ago, so I didn’t know if he’d like my version. I used a crispy French bread loaf and made the extra gravy, as KK suggested but skipped the peppers (I don’t care for them) and the cheese (I prefer mine without). They were FANTASTIC!! All the flavor of Chicago, and leftovers too!! After eating his sandwich, The Pretty One asked what I had made for dinner. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I’d eat more, but I’m going out to run.” I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement, wouldn’t you? I’ll definitely be making this again!]

Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches

Stuff you need:

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoons salt

1 small sirloin tip roast, about 2-1/2 lbs [I used eye of round roast because it was on sale. Be sure to use a tender roast for this, not one that requires long and slow cooking.]

1 can or 2 cups beef broth

8 Italian rolls, warmed and split [I used a loaf of French bread cut into sandwich sized portions and split.]

Giardiniera and / or sautéed green peppers, optional

8 slices Provolone or Mozzarella cheese, optional

Now what?

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place meat fat side up in a shallow pan that’s just large enough to hold the roast. Rub half of the seasoning mixture over the meat.

Roast for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook 20 minutes longer.

Remove from oven; pour beef broth and remaining seasoning mixture into pan. Return to oven. Cook just until the meat registers about 135 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20 – 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK the meat!

Remove the meat from the pan and let rest / cool for 20 minutes. (Temp will continue to rise, reaching 145F – medium rare.) [This is an important step, so don’t skip it!]

Meanwhile, stir the juices in the pan to loosen the spices if necessary, and transfer them to a saucepan.  [There’s a lot of pepper in there, so if you want it really mild, don’t stir up all the spices!] Cook over medium heat until heated through – about 3 minutes.

Slice cooled meat paper-thin. For each sandwich, dip meat slices briefly into juice then layer meat and juices onto the warmed, split rolls. Serve immediately with giardiniera or peppers on top. (If using the cheese, put cheese on bottom of warmed roll before piling beef and juices on.)

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