Chicago. That’s all all you have to say to generate a Pavlovian response in me. It’s the food, man! They even have a festival called Taste of Chicago. It’s ten days long! Om nom nom…
Chicago is famous for deep dish style pizza. I’ve never really been a fan of deep dish pizza. What you really want to do is find a small Italian family owned place selling a great midwestern style thin crust. (Salivate, salivate..). Where I grew up there were several. If you’re ever in the podunk town of Kankakee, Illinois, I highly recommend Johnny’s on Schuyler or Sammy’s on 5th Avenue. What you may not know, if you’ve never spent time in Chicago, is that Chicago is also mecca for another delicious culinary delight: Italian Beef.
What is Italian beef? Italian beef is goooooooooood! It’s a sandwich served on a french roll that contains piles of thin sliced beef cooked in this amazing jus. Typically, it’s also served with slices of sweet pepper, but that’s optional.
There are recipes around the web to make Italian beef. I’m sure they’re great, but this one I know is tried and true. It comes from a cookbook my Aunt Betty Rae, near and dear to my heart, gave to me. The cookbook is a collection of recipes put together by the Democratic Women of Kankakee County in 1968. The recipe was submitted by Shirley St. Germaine. I don’t know you Shirley, but thank you! What I have is adjusted with notes in the margin. I’m not certain by whom.
Italian Beef (easy)
1 – 4lb. beef roast – thinly sliced, cooked.
5 cups water
5 beef bouillon cubes
1.5 Tsp. rosemary
1.5 Tsp. basil
3 Tsp. oregano
3 bay leaves (lower that if they’re fresh – where I grew up we only had dried)
1.5 Tsp. thyme
1.5 Tsp. red pepper
5 garlic cloves
1 packet onion soup mix
Combine all ingredients EXCEPT beef in a saucepan and simmer for 45 minutes.
Strain the mixture and pour the jus over your cooked sliced beef.
Place in a crock pot and cook for 45 minutes. Optional: Add green pepper slices to suit.
Serve on on a french roll. Soak some of that jus into the roll too.
Share and enjoy. (-: