I was born and partly raised outside of Minneapolis, MN. To me Brats and Sauerkraut with a good German mustard were heaven. Then I moved to Cherry Hill, NJ when I was 11. I very quickly discovered a new delight not available in Minnesota at that time or at least not known to me. It was the Philly Cheese Steak. I lived in Boston and now Connecticut and still have yet to find that perfect cheese steak..
So what is a girl to do? Learn how to make it, so I did. Below is my version of an incredible cheese steak that rivals any I have ever had. No steak ‘ums here. I use the best meat and cheese I can find… and boy is it worth it.
Ribeye and Top Round are typical choices. I have made with skirt and/or flank as well.. The key is to slice it as thin as you can. If you do not have a deli slicer at home, ask the butcher to slice it for you or slice it as thin as you can, and then pound it out to make it paper thin. If you do have a slicer, partially freeze the meat before slicing so you can get it paper-thin. This is key. Not only can you impart more flavor when it is sliced thin, but you can also eat it better.
There is a little prep work to be done. Best to do the day before, but can be done at a minimum of 4 hours in advance. The prep work will get the most flavor.
If you are vegetarian and want to experience this wonderful sandwich – read on as i offer a vegetarian version as well, the primary substitution for meat is portabella mushrooms. They can be prepped and treated like meat. However, they contain a lot of water and tend to shrink so get more than you think you need.
Once you have the meat/mushrooms and cheese selected, find yourself a great 6 in hoggie roll. Nice and soft rolls. Lightly coat the inside with a olive oil or butter spray, and toast the insides until lightly browned before filling with that cheesy mess of a good thing.
Aside from the steak, cheese and bread – you can’t have a good sandwich without some more items. Caramelized mushrooms, onions and peppers. Not everyone likes the mushrooms or peppers. That is fine, just have them on hand and toss them in at the end before you add the cheese. This is part of the prep work. Properly caramelizing takes time. Please refer to this link on how to Caramelize the same process works for onions, mushrooms and peppers. This can be done a couple of days in advance if desired.
Enough talking now – on to the recipe:
Ingredients (makes 4 6 in sandwiches)
4 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 large white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 sprigs of oregano or (1 TBS dried)
1 sprig of thyme or (1 tsp dried)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
1.5 LB of ribeye or top round thinly sliced
2 bell peppers – whatever color floats your boat (optional)
1/4 LB extra sharp provolone, sliced thin
1/4 LB smoked gouda, sliced thin
4 Fresh cheese steak / Hoggie rolls.
1 TBS fresh ground pepper
Olive oil (about 3 TBS)
4 hours to 1 day in advance:
- Caramelize the onions, peppers and mushrooms
- Slice the meat very thin (if not already) put into a zip lock bag, and mix with a little olive oil, pepper, oregano, thyme and garlic. Put in fridge for a few hours or over night.
Next Steps: Assembling:
- Ready? this happens very fast.
- Slice the buns and toast the insides (either on a grill pan or under the broiler on low). Put aside until ready to fill.
- Heat a large frying pan to med- high heat. Add the caramelized onions, mushrooms, peppers if using (drain any extra oil)
- Put in the meat and a touch of salt (not too much depending on the saltiness of the cheese). (You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan)
- Let sear, toss the meat so all sides are heated, cooked through and everything mixed together (about 2 minutes)
- Separate into 4 piles.
- Cut the cheese slices in 1/2. Put the smoked gouda on first, then the provolone.
- let melt ( you can cover to speed up the process).. should only be a minute
- Place the meat pile on the roll, close and serve.
- I love the really green half sour pickles as a side. Yummmm!
Enjoy and give praise to Philly for inventing this wonderful sandwich!
If you have left overs, wrap in tinfoil, and reheat in the oven at 325 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes.