A Slam Dunk of an Italian Beef Sandwich
Chef Jeff Mauro shares his recipe for a hometown favorite: Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches.
Jeff Mauro grew up in Chicago's Italian American community in the '80s, and he made his name as Food Network's sandwich king. So the man knows his Italian beef. Do you?
This Windy City staple is a literal hot mess: a soft roll piled with shaved meat, peppers and giardiniera, then dunked in broth. You'll find Mauro's take in his debut cookbook, Come on Over, a tribute to his family's casual, spontaneous, stuff-your-belly style of entertaining.
"My goal was to mimic not only the flavor of a classic Italian beef sandwich," Mauro says, "but also the texture—without having to invest in a $4,800 deli slicer." His mother, he reports, has adopted his pot roast-inspired recipe. If it's good enough for Mom, it's good enough for us.
* Leave the meat chunky, Mauro says, or follow his mom's lead and shred the—ahem—out of it.
* Choose a hinged French roll that's soft but sturdy. Mauro likes Turano, a brand sold around Chicago and in many Aldi stores.
* To dunk or not? A real Italian beef gets plunged (the whole thing) in the broth. Embrace the mess, or play it more delicately, French dip-style.
* Mauro has one rule for giardiniera, a pickled condiment—whether spicy or mild, it needs to be oily, with none of that vinegar-packed nonsense. Purchase a jar or try his fermented recipe.
* Roasted green peppers are a must. Mauro seasons his with granulated garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.
* Simmered in beef stock, red wine, garlic, fresh thyme and a hefty spoonful of Italian seasoning, this braised chuck roast would make a fine dinner on its own, with crusty bread and a bottle of Cab.
Buy the Book
Jeff Mauro's endearing new cookbook, Come on Over, features 111 recipes, most of them fun and indulgent, like Chicago-Style Deep-Dish and The Greatest American Patty Melt in the Country of All Time (William Morrow, $30).