For some folks, that's the hard part - the slicing. And and Italian beef sandwich just isn't right if the slices aren't thin. I have a meat slicer, but I'm weird. Most people would have to wield a knife.
The annoying part about making Italian beefs at home - for me - is that it ends up being a LOT of food, since it starts with that big hunk of beef. While I do love a good Italian Beef sandwich, don't want to make a month-long commitment to eating it. I want a few sandwiches, and that's it.
In Chicago, Italian Beef sandwiches were fast food. They were the thing you ran out to get if you didn't feel like cooking. They were the thing you stopped for on your way from here to there. They weren't fancy.
There are shortcuts, though, that make it a lot more convenient. Like using beef that's already cooked and sliced and all ready to meet the rest of the ingredients. This time, I used Oscar Mayer Natural slow roasted beef. They've sponsored this post, but I created the recipe based on what I like.
The classic Italian beef sandwich in Chicago has a few options. You can get them with sweet peppers, hot peppers, or both.
And you can get them dipped (or wet), which means the sandwich is dunked in the jus or that tasty beefy juice is ladled onto the finished sandwich gets the bread pretty soggy. It's messy, but that's what it's supposed to be.
I usually opted for sweet and hot meaning that I wanted both types of peppers, and of course I wanted the bread nice and wet. The sandwiches in Chicago use bread similar to French bread, and much of it is supplied by specific bakeries. The bread is pretty solid before it's dunked, so it holds up well to being soggy.
Obviously those specific breads aren't readily available outside Chicago, but you can still make a decent sandwich. The important thing is that the bread needs to be sturdy enough to handle the jus. Hot dog buns would dissolve. French bread or sturdy hoagie buns work well. If the bread is a little stale, it doesn't matter, so this is a great way to use up extra bread that's a tiny bit dry.
If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate the meat and peppers in the jus and just reheat gently the next day.
The beef isn't the only type of Oscar Mayer Selects Natural you can get - it is available in five flavorful varieties including Slow Roasted Turkey, Applewood Smoked Turkey, Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken, Applewood Smoked Ham and Slow Roasted Roast Beef.
If you're worried about what's in the cold cuts you buy, Oscar Mayer Selects Natural is made with no artificial ingredients, and is minimally processed. Selects Natural has no artificial preservatives (the back side of each package lists the ingredients used to preserve quality), no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no gluten and no by-products.
Quick and Easy Chicago Style Beef Sandwiches
Makes 3-4 sandwiches
1 green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and sliced in strips
2 cups beef broth or stock (home-made or bought)
1 tablespoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 7-ounce package Oscar Mayer Naturals slow roasted beef
1 hoagie roll per sandwich
Hot giardiniera peppers, optional
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the bell pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until the peppers are cooked through. These aren't supposed to be crisp-tender - they're fully cooked. Add the stock, oregano, and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes so the flavors infuse the broth.
Add the beef and cook just to warm the meat - it's fully cooked, so there's no need to cook any longer.
Divide the beef among 3 or 4 hoagie rolls, depending on how full you want them. Add bell peppers to each sandwich, if desired. Ladle the jus onto each sandwich. Pass the hot giardiniera peppers at the table for people to add their own, as desired.
If you like, you can bring any remaining jus to the table for people to add more, or give them small bowls filled with jus to dunk the sandwiches.
You can learn more about Selects Natural and all the Oscar Mayer products on OscarMayer.com, Facebook at Facebook.com/OscarMayer, Twitter at @OscarMayer and on Tumblr at OscarMayer.Tumblr.com.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.