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Italian Beef

03/04/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

Italian Beef, if you're in the Chicago area, Chicago Beef from the outside, or sometimes, Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches, which is kinda like calling a Cheese Steak a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Forgedaboudit.

I'm from the Philadelphia area, but I lived north of Chicago in the early 80's [and owned a house for longer, but the first wife got that one &#59;) ] between my Denver and California living experiences. This recipe takes a half a day, and the sandwiches are eaten tomorrow, but it's really, really incredible.

Being Italian in heritage, I didn't have any trouble combining family recipes, with stufato di Milano recipes, and what I read about and talked about when I was in Chicago to come up with this dish, that I've been cooking for 25 years or so.

I use a porcelain coated, cast iron pot with a lid. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F, with the pot in it. While heating the oven, take 3, yes, three heads, not cloves, heads, of garlic, and peel each clove, leaving each whole, except for removing the root end and any green at the tip of each clove. Take two celery stalks and one parsnip [or carrot, if you can't find parsnip] clean, peel, trim, and break into three or four large pieces. When the oven and pot are hot, put the pot over a medium flame, add olive oil to cover the bottom, and sear the [~ 5 pounds] tied sirloin of beef on all six planes. Here are some pictures...

Each end, and one long side have been seared in this shot of the second side being seared.

Searing the second side of the beef

And then the next side.

Searing the next side of the beef
Click to view original size

After all sides have been seared, add two glasses [approximately 12 ounces] of red wine, and the vegetables.

Wine and vegetables over the seared beef
Click to view original size

  • "Toast" a tablespoon or so of tomato paste in the olive oil for about a minute.
  • Put the pot with the beef, vegetables and wine back in the oven, and cook at 375°F for five minutes on each of the four long sides to complete sealing the beef.
  • During the last five minutes, set the temperature on the oven down to 275°F.
  • For long cooking like this, I prefer dried herbs; fresh herbs should be added only near the end of cooking; so, the dried herbs to be added here are two bay leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon or a large pinch each of oregano, thyme, sage, and parsley.
  • Plus toast and grind about an half-teaspoon of the spice, coriander.
  • Add a rich vegetable or beef stock, and enough water to submerge the beef about half way.

The beef in the pot in the oven showing liquid and bay leaves
Click to view original size

Cover with the lid, and let cook at 275°F for three more hours, turning over each hour.

If you can't wait until tomorrow, you can add a small potato or two per person, cut into quarters, during the last half-hour of cooking, and leave the pot uncovered. Add a salad, and you have supper tonight. Only slice off as much beef as you need tonight, and leave the rest whole to chill, so you can slice it very, very thin tomorrow. Also, save all of the cooking liquor, pass it through a fine food mill and refrigerate. Update: I should point out that you should remove the bay leaves before passing the liquor through the food mill, the carrot and celery are optional, but the garlic is a must to go through the mill with the liquor.

Ah, but the sandwiches are the real treat. Especially the relish.

  1. Take 1 clove of marinated garlic per sandwich
  2. Add celery, pearl onion, carrot, whatever from a jar of hot giardiniera [what my family called suttacel] or from a mild giardiniera plus a marinated hot pepper or peperoncini,
  3. and two strips of roasted red pepper per sandwich
  4. Chop with a mezzaluna or knife until minced but not a paste

For the sandwich...

  1. Preheat an oven, maybe with a pizza or baking stone, to 400F
  2. Take the "au jus" from the roast, which you had, yesterday, passed through a food mill with the fine mesh, to make an incredibly rich, thick gravy, out of the fridge and remove any solid grease from the top
  3. heat the gravy to boiling, and if too thick, add hot water and boil some more
  4. Take the beef out of the fridge from yesterday
  5. Get your sharpest carving knife and sharpen it further
  6. Slice the beef very, very thin
  7. Wet your hands and "dry" them on the rolls on which you'll make the sandwich, and put the rolls into a 400F oven for three minutes
  8. Split the rolls and spread a tablespoon of the "relish" on each half of the roll
  9. Dip the beef in the gravy, making it as wet as you want, and pile it on the bread
  10. OMG - enjoy, enjoy, enjoy

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1 comment

Comment from: Shoshana Kleiman
Shoshana Kleiman

Joe, I remember your love of food, your father’s fried hot peppers that filled the apartment with stinging air. Didn’t know you became a chef in your own right. Do you remember Christmas 1974? Drop a line - I’ll tell you who I am if you don’t remember.

03/07/07 @ 05:45
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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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