Thursday, October 6, 2011
Italian Beef Sandwiches for the Northwestern Game
When people think of Chicago foods, they immediately think of deep-dish pizza and hot dogs "dragged through the garden."
But Chicago is equally famous for Italian beef sandwiches, and so that's what I'm serving in honor of the Northwestern-Michigan game on Saturday. Northwestern is in Evanston, after all, which is just outside Chicago. You know those kids hop on the train and commute in to the city all the time!
According to Wikipedia:
"Origins of the sandwich are disputed, but one early vendor, Al's No. 1 Italian Beef, opened its first stand in 1938.
One story has it that the Italian Beef sandwich was started by Italian immigrants who worked for the old Union Stock Yards. They often would bring home some of the tougher, less desirable cuts of beef sold by the company. To make the meat more palatable, it was slow-roasted to make it more tender, then slow-simmered in a spicy broth for flavor. Both the roasting and the broth used Italian-style spices and herbs. The meat was then thinly sliced across the grain and stuffed into fresh Italian bread.
According to Scala's Original Beef and Sausage Company (formed in 1925), this meal was originally introduced at weddings and banquets where the meat was sliced thinly so there would be enough to feed all the guests. It rapidly grew in popularity and eventually became Chicago's most famous ethnic food: the original Italian beef sandwich."
Now, I didn't have time to roast an entire hunk of beef; so I cheated and bought some pre-roasted and pre-sliced meat at the grocery store's deli counter.
But I did marinate the beef in the requisite seasoned broth, added both hot and sweet peppers, and made sure to soak the bun in all those tasty juices, too, before piling up ingredients in the sandwich. Shortcuts, not dishonor!
This is a hearty, substantial sandwich - it's perfect for the game!
University of Michigan at Northwestern University
Saturday, October 8 at 5 p.m. EDT
Italian Beef Sandwich
2 cups red wine (Flip Flop Wines Merlot - a fabulous marketing gift!)
2 cups beef stock
2 .6-ounce packets zesty Italian salad dressing seasoning
1 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
1 large red pepper, sliced
4 sub buns
1 cup hot banana peppers, drained
Bring wine, stock and salad dressing seasoning to a boil in a medium saucepan; add beef, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then refrigerate overnight.
Reheat the beef in the saucepan with the marinade.
Saute the pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes, until softened.
Slice each of the sub buns not quite all the way through, lengthwise. Spoon some of the marinade onto the sub buns. Add roast beef, making sure it drips onto the bread when you remove it from the saucepan. Top with another drizzle of marinade, and finish the sandwich with both types of peppers.
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