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Hot Italian Beef Sandwich

Hot Italian Beef Sandwich

 

We love a spectacularly sloppy, stuffed-to-the-brim sandwich. Yeah, we’ll tuck about 10 paper napkins into our collar in preparation to eat it and still manage to stain whatever shirt we’re wearing … but those juicy, chewy, flavor-packed bites are worth the mess. One of our favorites is the hot Italian beef sandwich — a Chicago classic that first popped up on the culinary map sometime around the end of World War I.

At the heart of the Italian beef sandwich is a comforting, straight-from-grandma’s-kitchen-style pot roast. We brown the beef on the stove, and then braise it in the oven with beef broth, dry red wine, fresh thyme, Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper until it’s beyond fork-tender — by which we mean, practically falling apart. Pro tip from the test kitchen: for the last 30 minutes of the braise, remove the lid of the Dutch oven, so the meat gets some caramelly char. 

Once the roasting is done, we remove the beef and reduce the remaining braising liquid, letting it simmer on the stove until it thickens some. The result? A wonderfully savory jus — perfect for all manner of sandwich-related dipping, dunking, and drizzling. 

Now for the assembly! We lightly toast the pillowy French rolls so they’re nice and warm, but will still soak up all the jus. (We even like to drizzle a little giardiniera oil over the bread, so you get the best of both the richly savory and the brightly pungent worlds.) Next comes the small chunks of tender, tender beef, a handful of sweet roasted bell pepper, and some spicy, crunchy Chicago-style giardiniera. 

From there, you have a couple serving options: You can enjoy the sandwich au jus, meaning there’s a bit of the stuff on the side for dipping. Or you can serve it “wet” — meaning you quickly dunk the whole darn sandwich in the hot jus, wrap it up in some parchment paper, and then wait for it to soak up all that beefy, brothy goodness. Want your sandwich “juicy”? Dunk it twice. “Soaked?” Dunk it thrice! 

However jus-logged you like your Italian beef sandwich, we assure you it’ll be a wonderful weekend lunch or dinner — made all the more satisfying by the cat nap you can take while the beef roasts in the oven. These sandwiches are also great for game day: you can set out the component parts, and have the gaggle of sports fans at your house assemble and dunk their own sandwiches during the commercial breaks. To wash it all down? Chicago-style ale, of course.

 

Servings: 8

 

Ingredients

 

For the pot roast:

 

1 boneless beef chuck eye roast (3 ½ to 4 lb)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground Gelson’s black pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil 

1 medium white onion, roughly chopped 

1 Tbsp Gelson’s Italian seasoning 

2 tsp Gelson’s crushed red pepper 

6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 

½ cup dry red wine 

5 cups beef broth 

2 sprigs Gelson’s organic fresh thyme

 

For the sweet peppers:
 

4 green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1” strips

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 

1 tsp Gelson’s garlic powder

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground Gelson’s black pepper, to taste

 

For serving:

8 soft-hinged French rolls

Chicago-style giardiniera

 

Directions

 

  1. To make the pot roast: Position the top oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300°.

  2. Liberally sprinkle the entire roast with kosher salt and black pepper. 

  3. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the grapeseed oil, then brown the roast on all sides until golden and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a plate and reduce heat to medium.

  4. Add the white onions and a pinch of kosher salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. 

  5. Add the Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Deglaze with the dry red wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer until reduced by about half, 2 to 5 minutes. 

  6. Add the beef broth and thyme and return to a simmer.

  7. Return the roast and its juices to the pot, and then cover, transfer to the oven, and cook, turning every 30 minutes, for 3 hours. Uncover the pot and cook for 30 minutes more, or until very tender.

  8. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest. Set the pot aside, reserving the jus.

  9. To roast the sweet peppers: Increase the oven temperature to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the green bell peppers with the extra virgin olive oil and garlic powder. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring halfway through, until softened and lighter in color, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside.

  10. Drizzle the insides of the French rolls with some of the giardiniera oil, set them on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 8 minutes.

  11. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the jus into a bowl and then return it to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to simmer until reduced slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. 

  12. Pull the meat into smaller chunks and return it to the jus.

  13. Divide the beef and sweet peppers among the rolls. Garnish with Chicago-style giardiniera, and serve each sandwich with a small dish of jus. 

 

Recipe source: Food Network

Calculate nutrition information for this recipe. 

 

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