Recipe: Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches
1 boneless beef sirloin butt roast, about 3 pounds with most of the fat trimmed off
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups of hot water
4 cubes of beef bouillon (see discussion below) *
10 soft, fluffy, high gluten rolls, sliced lengthwise but hinged on one side or Italian bread loaves cut widthwise into 10 portions (Gonnella, Turano, and D’Amato are the bakers of choice in Chicago)
3 medium sized green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil, approximately
1 cup hot giardiniera
1. Preparation time: 20 minutes.
2. Cooking time: Allow about 2 hours to cook and another 3 hours to firm the meat for slicing in the refrigerator if you don’t have a meat slicer. You need 90 minutes to cook a 3 pound roast, or about 30 minutes per pound. You can cook this well in advance and refrigerate the meat and juice and heat it up as needed. You can even freeze it. This is a great Sunday dish because the smell of the roasting beef and herbs fills the house. After you cook it, you need another 30 minutes to chill it before slicing.
3. About the beef. Top sirloin, top round, or bottom round are preferred in that order. For tenderness, especially if you cannot cut paper thin slices. David Rosengarten, the famous cookbook author and TV chef, uses chuck, a fattier cut, so the meat will be more tender and flavorful. “Luxurious” is the word he used. Problem is that you’ll have to chill the pan drippings after cooking in order to skim off the fat.
4. About the garlic. If you wish, omit the garlic powder and stud the roast with fresh garlic.
5. Note: This beef is especially good the second day. Refrigerate the beef once you are done with it, then warm it up the next day. The flavors will be even better!