Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spicy Crockpot Italian Style Drip 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.
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 that I prepare and share here on Deep South Dish that originate from other parts of the country, 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, onions, and Italian seasonings, that makes a pretty darned good Italian Beef drip 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 with very little juice, wet with a little juice spooned over, or dragged through the river - meaning that the entire sandwich 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 of it all 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, with just a spoon of the juices. Reserve a little to slice up for garnish too. While the golden peperoncini are a mild, sweet pepper, the giardiniera - often called hot mix - is usually served as a garnish. It contains hot peppers such as serrano, an extremely hot chile 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. I like to saute a little bell pepper and onion to put on the sandwiches too.

To build my sandwich, I first toasted the bread with a spread of butter and garlic, then spooned some of the juicy seasoned beef on top. If you prefer to drag your's through the river, make sure you use a good hard Italian roll that will hold up to the juices.

Add sauteed sweet peppers and onions, top with provolone cheese, and pass sandwich under the broiler just until cheese melts. Top with some additional rough chopped giardiniera if you like.

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

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Recipe: Spicy Crockpot Italian Drip Beef for Sandwiches

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 hours

Total time: 10 hours 10 min
Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 (3-5 pound) beef chuck roast
  • 1 envelope dry Italian Dressing Mix, like Good Seasons brand)
  • 2 cups sliced bell peppers
  • 2 cups sliced Vidalia onion
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons beef base (like Better than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup whole sliced golden peperoncini or 1/2 cup sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup well drained Italian mix giardiniera, plus 1/2 cup roughly chopped for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon peperoncini juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Italian deli rolls
  • Sliced provolone cheese

Using a skillet on the stove or the browning setting on the slow cooker, heat oil. Rub dry mix all over the roast and brown well on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add peppers and onions and cook until tender. Remove and set aside to cool. Store and reserve as a garnish for sandwiches.

Whisk together the beef broth, base and Italian seasoning until well blended. Return roast to cooker, add peperoncini, giardiniera, juice and garlic and pour broth over roast. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

Butter cut sides of bread and toast, if desired, in preheated 425 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove the roast from slow cooker and let rest for 10 minutes. Pull or cut into chunks and return the meat to the crockpot juices. Keep on low until ready to serve. Warm peppers and onions. Spoon meat onto bread, top with peppers and onions, add provolone if using and place under the broiler just until melted. Top with giardiniera and serve au jus drippings from the crockpot in a ramekin for dipping, if desired.

Cook's Note: If desired, defat the juices by transferring to a fat separator before adding meat back to the slow cooker. A rump roast will slice better, but you will have to prepare roast then chill it before proceeding to get those slices.

Variation: Omit the peperoncini and giardiniera for a basic cheesesteak sandwich.

For the Oven: Prepare as above in a roasting pan or baker, except cover roast tightly and cook in a preheated 275 degree F oven for about 2 hours, or until meat is fall apart tender.

For the Instant Pot/Electronic Pressure Cooker: Prepare as above, cutting roast into three to four smaller pieces before seasoning and browning. Place trivet in cooker and put meat on top. Lock lid and pressure cook on high for 55 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, then check roast for tenderness. It should be pull apart tender; if not, return to cooker for an additional 10 minutes. Taste au jus and add salt and pepper only as needed to taste.


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