Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crock Pot Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches

I've been on a sandwich kick lately. I'm not sure why, but I'm not questioning it, because my current obsession has resulted in some really, really delicious sandwich-based dinners for us recently. The sandwich I'm sharing today is OMGgood, so delicious that there really are no words. The balance of flavors is just so perfect. And this sandwich is made mostly in the slow cooker, making it perfect for warm weather, busy nights, and lazy people such as myself.

Let me break it down for you. The sandwich starts with a beef roast that's seared in a hot Dutch oven until it's beautifully browned on all sides. Then it takes a bath, along with some garlic, onions, and spices, in red wine for 8 or so hours. As if that wasn't delicious enough on its own, the meat is then shredded, placed in a toasted bun, and topped with sweet bell peppers, marinated fresh mozzarella, and spicy chopped giardiniera. And! Even better! You'll probably have some meat left over, which you can freeze for an easy dinner later.

Honestly, the most difficult part of this recipe is lifting your heavy Dutch oven to pour the wine into the Crock pot. And sweet mercy, this is just delicious.

Crock Pot Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

For the beef:

1 boneless beef chuck eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme

For the sweet bell peppers:

2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

For the sandwiches:

4 soft, hinged sub or hoagie rolls, toasted
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced (I found some marinated with basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and crushed pepper flakes, which I highly recommend if you can find it)
Hot giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables), chopped

1. Season the entire roast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown the roast on all sides, and transfer the roast to the slow cooker.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and saute, stirring occasionally until just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to slow cooker.

3. Increase heat to medium-high, and add red wine to the Dutch oven. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, and bring back to a simmer. Add Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and fresh thyme. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.

4. Set slow cooker to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 8 hours. (Or, set the slow cooker to high, and cook for 5 to 6 hours.) The meat should fall apart easily. Shred the meat with two forks, and put it back in the slow cooker with the juices.

5. To make the sweet peppers, add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the pepper strips, garlic, and salt and pepper. Saute until peppers are softened. Sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine, and cook for 1 more minute.

6. Place some beef on a roll. Top with peppers and cheese. Set the oven to broil and cook until cheese is melted. Top with hot giardiniera and serve.


amanda @ fake ginger said...

Oh yum! My kids & hubs would love it!

xtina22 said...

Tried this recipe this week, and it did not disappoint. The beef had tremendous flavor. So, so good! Thank you!