Italian Beef Sandwich

Italian Beef Sandwich
Hot and wet? Dunked and sweet? How you dress your beef is entirely up to you. Maura McEvoy

Few Chicagoans make this sandwich at home—why buy a professional-grade meat slicer when there’s a beef stand in every neighborhood? So I had a hard time tracking down a recipe when I moved to New York City. Finally, an old high-school ­classmate responded to my Facebook plea with a photo of a stained index card titled “Italian Beef—Aunt Tammy.” Aunt Tammy’s meat-slicer workaround involves a rump roast, a slow cooker, and some fork-shredding. Our adaptation calls for sirloin, thinly sliced in advance by your butcher, then quickly poached in the juice.

Equipment

Italian Beef Sandwich
Chicago may be known for hot dogs and deep dish pizza, but the Windy City's Italian beef sandwich is a delicious, messy, tasty favorite. Here's how to make it at home.
Yield: makes 4 sandwiches
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. rendered beef fat (or olive oil)
  • 14 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 0.7-oz. packets Italian salad-dressing mix
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chile flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2-3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 4 Italian- or French-style rolls (about 6 in. long)
  • 2 lb. boneless sirloin steak, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 cups hot giardiniera relish, drained

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, over medium heat, cook the beef fat (or olive oil) until it shimmers, then add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds more, then add the beef stock, Italian salad-­dressing mix, basil, black pepper, chile flakes, oregano, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until reduced by a third, 30-40 minutes. Season to taste with the ­Worcestershire sauce, if using, and maintain a low simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, split the rolls in half lengthwise, leaving one side intact, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside.
  3. Pull the steak slices apart and divide into 4 equal batches. Working with 1 batch at a time, use tongs to dunk the meat into the juice, swirling gently to quickly poach the meat, 1-2 minutes, before nestling the batch inside one of the split rolls. Repeat with the other 3 steak batches and rolls. To serve “wet,” ladle a generous amount of juice over the beef. To serve “dipped,” use tongs to quickly dunk the entire sandwich into the juice. To make a sandwich “hot,” top the beef with giardiniera to taste.
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