ITALIAN DRIP BEEF SANDWICHES
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Ever so slowly roasted, melt-in-your-mouth-tender beef dripping with deep, flavour-rich roasting juices, tucked into a soft, toasty roll with mildly kicky pepperoncini peppers and oozing broil-blasted, gorgeously-runny, buttery Havarti. Italian Drip Beef Sandwich ~ a thing of beauty.
I had you at 'Italian' didn't I?
Curious about Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches? So was I. Intrigued, in fact. Within a Chicago New York minute of finding Italian Drip Beef on the always engaging and renowned Pioneer Woman food blog I felt like I'd been missing out. Big time. And now I know for sure that once you have experienced Italian Drip Beef first hand, there's no turning back. I vehemently declare, "Italian Drip Beef, where have you been all my life?"
Origins are a bit sketchy, but those in the know tell us that Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches date back to the South Side of Chicago in the early 1900's. Savvy Italian immigrants, with near empty pockets and that innate passion for food, turned affordable, tough cuts of beef into this crowd-pleasing, hearty classic.
By the late, Depression-clad 1920's, Pasquale Scala, a 'Sout' Side butcher elevated Drip Beef 'Sangwitches' to whole new levels of popularity, and in The Chicago Tribune in 1954 a local restaurant touted, "Pizza, Spaghetti, Ravioli and Italian Beef Sandwiches".
Today, from the city to the suburbs, you can munch out on Italian Drip Beef Sandwiches all over Chicago. But, alas, beyond the windy city, finding these messy, lip-smacking sandwiches, well you might as well "fuhgeddaboudit."
ITALIAN DRIP BEEF SANDWICHES
Great for a family dinner or a crowd.
A perfect recipe to make one-day ahead and reheat stove-top.
1 beef chuck or boneless blade roast, 3-5 pounds
2 cups beef broth
2 heaping tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 Vidalila, Walla-Walla, Maui or other sweet onion, peeled and quartered
6 plump garlic cloves, squished just a little to let out the goodness
2 good pinches dried red chile flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
20-25 pepperoncini peppers and at least 1/2 jar (16 ounces) of the juice
Bakery fresh Italian buns or deli rolls
Havarti, Mozzarella, Provolone, Monterey Jack or your favorite cheese
Combine all ingredients, except rolls and cheese, in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Stir lightly to combine seasoning with the liquid.
Cover and bake in a 275F degree oven for 5 to 6 hours (I baked my 5lb. boneless blade roast 6 hours), or until meat is fork-tender and falling apart. Don't even worry about checking it, just let the magic happen. **If meat is not yet tender, return to oven for 30 minute intervals till it’s tender!**
Remove from oven. Remove onion and garlic from roasting juices and discard. With two forks, completely shred all meat, leaving no large chunks behind. Serve immediately, or keep warm over a very low simmer on the stove, or in a 175F oven.
**May make the day before, then store in the refrigerator. In fact, I think that perhaps when all these simple, delicious flavours get to party in the fridge overnight the meat is even happier than doing it all in the same day. And we all love happy meat. Chilling also gives us the golden opportunity to remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating.**
Cut the rolls in half, butter and grill 'til toasty golden, in a non-stick skillet. Like Ree, the Pioneer Woman, earlier in the day I grilled my rolls and kept them covered with a kitchen towel until ready to roll (hahaha). When ready to serve, just heap some meat on the bottom half of the roll letting some of those deep, delicious roasting juices seep into the roll. Top with a couple of the pepperoncinis, some cheese slices and melt under the broiler, if desired. Serve with little bowls of the juice and .........badabing badaboom!