Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spicy Crockpot Italian Style Beef for Sandwiches

A nice, spicy beef made in the crockpot with giardiniera and golden peperoncini, finished with sauteed sweet peppers, onions and provolone cheese & passed under the broiler to melt.

Spicy Crockpot Italian Beef

An Italian beef is a sandwich believed to have originated in Chicago, made of thin slices of highly seasoned beef, dripping with meat juices, and served on an Italian roll.

First, let's get this out of the way. Like all regional foods from other parts of the country, or well, the world, that I prepare and share here on Deep South Dish, this recipe is not meant to be representative of an authentic or even traditional Chicago style Italian beef in any way, shape or form. It's just a beef roast braised in broth, peppers, and Italian seasonings, that makes a pretty darned good Italian Beef inspired sandwich. Let's just agree to settle on calling my sandwich "inspired."

Ordered sweet or hot - sweet by topping the beef with sauteed Italian peppers or hot, using a Chicago style giardiniera - and either dry, or wet - dragged through the river - meaning that the bread has been dipped in the meat juices. Cheese is often included - a cheef, served with either mozzarella or provolone, or on garlic, meaning a sandwich with cheese served on bread that has been seasoned like garlic bread. Just the thought makes my mouth water - maybe someday I'll make it up to Chicago for a real authentic Italian Beef.

Here I decided to include the spicy in the braise by including the giardiniera in the cooking process, though I do not add the juices - just the peppers. While the golden peperoncini are a mild, sweet pepper, the giardiniera - often called hot mix - usually contains hot peppers such as serrano, an extremely hot chilli that provides the spicy kick to this sandwich.  If you don't want the heat level, just use the peperoncini or sweet bell peppers instead, or omit the peppers all together.

To build my sandwich, I first toasted the bread with a spread of butter and garlic, then used a slotted spoon to scoop some of the seasoned beef on top. I wanted mine more on the dry side with just the residual juices on the bread, although I also like it a little on the wetter side as well. Make sure you get a good hard Italian roll that will hold up.

I added extra sauteed sweet peppers and onions and provolone cheese, and then melted it under the broiler.

So good. These sandwiches would make a welcome addition to your Super Bowl party menu - just use a larger roast.

I use a rump roast but use chuck to take advantage of its lovely natural fat if you don't mind dealing with the extra fat it will produce. A rump will slice better, but you will have to chill it to get those slices. I kinda like the falling apart beef for my sandwiches.

Recipe: Spicy Crockpot Italian Beef for Sandwiches

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 10 hours | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillon beef base
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 envelope of Good Seasons dry Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1 (3-5 pound) beef roast (rump or chuck)
  • 1 cup of golden peperoncini
  • 1 cup of Italian mix giardiniera
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Italian deli rolls
  • Sauteed peppers and onions, optional
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese

Add the beef broth to the crockpot turn up to high. Whisk in the beef base, Italian seasoning, and Good Seasons packet until well blended. Add the roast, the peperoncini and giardiniera (without the juices), and the garlic. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 hours. 

Remove the roast and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into chunks and return the meat to the crockpot. Keep on low for several hours. When ready to serve, spoon meat with or without juices onto bread, plain or toasted, add mozzarella or provolone and place under the broiler to melt. Serve au jus with drippings from the crockpot for dipping, if desired.

Cook's Note: I use a rump roast but use chuck to take advantage of its lovely natural fat if you don't mind dealing with the extra fat it will produce. A rump will slice better, but you will have to chill it to get those slices. I prefer the falling apart beef for my sandwiches.

Variation: Omit the peperoncini and giardiniera for a basic cheesesteak sandwich and add thick sliced onion and peppers to the slow cooker or saute them separately. Add meat, veggies and cheese to the bread and run sandwiches under the broiler to melt the cheese.


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Posted by on February 6, 2010

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  1. Sounds awesome. When you do get to Chicago try to find Carm's. Oh how we miss our Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches. They have several locations. That and pizza!

  2. I made a crockpot Italian beef sometime last year and loved it - yours looks great. So many foods to try, so little time to cook them all.

  3. Now what is a proper southern gal like you doing cooking a Chicago dish? (ha ha just kidding)

    Looks great, love the toasted buns. Very important for a juicy sandwich to keep the texture right. Nice job.

  4. I make a similar dish but add a can of beer. Last year we had a St Patty's day party in Chicago and served these. Huge Hit. I think yours would have a deeper depth of flavor.

  5. Oh wow this is great game day eats! WHO DAT? is right on - Go Saints! :)

  6. Looks great. Very similar to the roast we like too. I will have to add the peppers to our roast next time.

    Good luck tomorrow - WHO DAT!

  7. Oh Mary now that's my kind of beef! I just love those Chicago beef sandwiches.

  8. I do believe you have outdone yourself this time :) This looks so wonderful. I believe we will have some happy SuperBowl watchers tonight!

  9. Fabulous recipe!
    Too late for Super Bowl, but I'm copying it right now anyway!

  10. I make something similar, but yours has a few more ingredients. I think I like the sound of yours better!

  11. I make this same beef using the giardinara and pepperocinis and we love it! Your pictures and sandwich look delicious!

  12. Gosh, I can say that I've never made this before, and think it's a crying shame that no one in my Italian fam has either! I've gotta try it soon! XOXO Roz

  13. I made this and changed it from Italian Beef to Italian Turkey. Here are the changes I made.

    1)I used 2 cups of Chicken broth and 1 cup of pre-made Italian Salad Dressing.

    2)Better than Bouillon chicken base

    3)Turkey Breast Roast

    4) Italian mix giardiniera used regular because I have a 2 yr old.

    5) a 2oz jar of Pimentos

    I followed the exact same directions and it turned OUT PERFECT!!!!!!! The roast I had came with a turkey gravy that I tossed right on in -- hey why waist it. I and my family loved it. I also used a Horseradish Cheddar in lieu of Provolone.


  14. I've tried a number of your recipes and I loved them all. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in the kitchen

  15. I just wanted you to know that I cooked the Spicy Italian Beef for sandwiches. It was awesome, my family loved it. I changed one ingredient in the recipe, I used a chuck roast instead of a rump roast. Thank you Mary for posting this recipe! Keep up the "delicious" work!

  16. You're welcome crazee d! Glad you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for reading. Happy New Year!!

  17. Hi there! I often make my own homemade italian beef and I'd just like to suggest that Mezetta makes Deli-Slice Peperoncini that is excellent to use because they seeds and stems are already removed for you and they are these lovely pepper ribbons.

  18. Hi there! I often make my own homemade italian beef and I'd just like to suggest that Mezetta makes Deli-Slice Peperoncini that is excellent to use because they seeds and stems are already removed for you and they are these lovely pepper ribbons.

  19. Thanks Ginger! I've not seen them but will certainly look.

  20. Made this for the third time today. Each time is better than the last! Took a short cut this time: put it in a pressure cooker for 1 hour instead of slow cooking for 10. I then moved it into the slow cooker and did the rest as above. Came out as good as ever.

    Thanks for yet another wonderful meal!

    1. Oooo, I have an electronic pressure cooker - thanks so much for the great tip!! How long did you go with the slow cooker after pressure cooking?

    2. Kept it on low for between 3 and 4 hours. Literally melts in your mouth.

    3. Wow, can't wait to give this method a run - thanks again!

  21. I made this for my family (minus the Italian mix) and cooked the meat in the juice from the pepperoncini
    (2 cups) and 1 cup of beef broth. They LOVED it. My husband told me to make that dish every other week. My oldest made toasted sandwiches, the youngest age with cooked rice, husband made a sandwich and also ate with mashed potato and peas. I actually ate it on a salad. It was delicious. Actually, I have made several of your dishes and have NEVER been disappointed.

    1. Thank you so much - I really appreciate the words of support & happy to hear that your family enjoyed the recipe!

  22. The recipe sounds really good, but more like a Philly cheese steak sandwich than Chicago Italian beef, and I love both of them! I'll have to try this. By the way, never got a decent cheese steak until I actually went to Philadelphia, and since I'm from Chicago, I have nightmares about what they might be doing with Italian beef in other cities :-D

    1. I do totally understand because we go through the same thing down here with our po'boys, red beans & rice, comeback sauce, gumbo, jambalaya and a whole host of other things this area of the country is known for. You wouldn't believe what some people try to pull off for those recipes! There is one gal who makes ketchup with a whole bunch of pepper and dares to call that comeback sauce. It certainly dishonors our Mississippi original!!

      This is a widely used recipe for Italian style beef sandwiches - I guess it could be somewhat of a cross between the two, but I would never take on either to be honest and try to present anything close to what would be "authentic" that's for sure. I can attest to the fact that this makes a very nice sandwich though - hope you enjoy it!

  23. I grew up in the northwest and moved to the east coast in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and moved to the east coast in the early '70s . All of the places around where I lived never used giardinara just onions and gr peppers in the jus. I loved it that way and that's the traditional way for me!

    1. Oh, this is nothing near being traditional, let's just settle on saying it's "inspired!"


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