This one originally came from Grimwell’s blog, had it saved in my email.

Chicago Style Italian Beef

2 pounds thin sliced roast beef (Italian style)
2 cans/containers beef stock
1 large yellow onion
2 bell peppers
garlic cloves
basil
pepper
Italian seasonings*
12 oz jar gardenia peppers
olive oil
1 loaf (or more) Italian bread

*If basil is not enough for you, wing it and put in what you like until you find the taste you prefer.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: Hours. You will know it’s done when your neighbors follow the smell to your door…

Using a crock-pot: Pour in beef stock and gardenia peppers (include all the juice from the gardenia jar). Add pepper, basil and/or other Italian seasonings to taste. Mince garlic cloves as small as you can and add to crock-pot.  Stir everything to distribute well, cover, and set to high.

Chop peppers and onions as desired. I prefer them in long strips, but there is no real reason you can’t dice them or go larger if you really wish.

In sauce pan: Sauté peppers and onions in a small amount of olive oil. The oil is there to keep them from burning while their inner oils and flavors come alive in the pan. So you do not need a lot of olive oil. Do not over cook them, you only want them hot enough to soften and then they are done.

Add softened onions & peppers complete with their oil to the crock-pot and stir to evenly distribute the oils.

Add all of the roast beef to the crock pot, cover, and leave on high. Roast beef has a reddish color when it’s uncooked (and taste great even then), you want to leave it in the crock-pot, stirring occasionally until all of the red is cooked out and it’s a dark color. Not deep and dark or black, but cooked and absent of the red.

After the red has been cooked out of the beef, let everything simmer on low in the crock-pot until the beef is so tender and soft that you can pull it apart with a fork and very little effort. A good Italian Beef dissolves in your mouth while you eat it, it does not chew.

Once the beef is soft and ready to eat, cut the Italian bread into sandwich sized lengths and then cut it through the center, but not all the way through. Use tongs to pull the beef out of the juice and seasonings and drop it right into the bread. Use the tongs to also pull out some of the peppers and onions and put them on top of the sandwich.

In both cases, do not try to drip dry the juice away from the beef as you serve it, the sandwich should be wet, some folks love it sopping wet. The juice is a part of the flavoring!

Variant: after a sandwich is ready to serve, cover it with mozzarella. This is popular even in Chicago, and adds to the heart-attack value of the sandwich. If you really want to have an authentic experience, serve the Italian Beefsandwich with some Goose Island beer.

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