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Crockpot Italian Beef

DSC_0816 (1600x1060)I started this last night and let it go till this morning.  Here it is after the beef roast was pulled apart.  Chicago area purists will decry this kind of prep, insisting the beef has to be sliced rather than pulled but after spending the night cooking in all the liquid it just isn’t practicable to do it that way.  There are two onions in there, a handful of garlic cloves, several bay leaves, dried oregano, basil, garlic salt and garlic powder, two cans of beef broth, a generous slug of Marsala (there was a bottle right there on the counter, so what the hey, eh?).  Also, I dumped in the juice and a few pepperoncini that were left in an old jar, highly recommended addition!DSC_0825 (1600x1060)It’s best to serve these with plenty of juice.  It’ll be a mess to eat but there isn’t any shame in using a fork.  I’ve never had one of these in any of the classic Chicago eateries but I understand they will dip the whole sammich in juice if you want it that way.  I just ladled extra over this one with a spoon.DSC_0619 (1600x1060)These homemade rolls were perfect.  I baked these a while back and froze them, waiting for a good place to use them.

Sorry, leftovers

No new exciting and sexy recipes.  Made a nice sandwich.

Things are looking up, though, Mrs J is puttering about in the kitchen.  Smells good in there…

Italian beef

I dug a frozen beef roast out of the box this morning, early.  Asked Mrs J if she had any druthers.

“Italian beef!”

I can do that.  Had to thaw it first, took a couple of hours.  I poked around online looking over some recipes and came away with a plan.  First thing was to cook the meat.  Firing up a burner under a heavy sauce pot with some oil and garlic, the roast went in for a good searing on all sides.  Assembling the juice was next order of business.  I poured 3 cups of beef broth into a sauce pan, added 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.  1 bay leaf was added, and a 0.7 oz packet of Italian dressing mix.  Bring that to a simmer and dump it all into the pot with the browned roast.  I sliced a large yellow onion to go with it.

Cook it, covered, in a 350 oven until it’s done.  Mine took a couple of hours, it’s hard to overcook the meat but I suppose it can be done.  It was my intention to use my handy dandy electric slicer so I didn’t need it to be falling apart.  I did let it get to 180 degrees on the thermometer.

I wanted to chill it quickly so I could get to slicing it so it went into the freezer.  Alas, my slicer thing shot craps on me and I had to do almost the whole roast by hand.  I managed OK.

To serve, split a bun or a section of loaf and then dredge the sliced meat through the juices left in the pot and brought back to a simmer.  This re-warms the meat and adds the all important juices to the sandwich.  Pile it onto the bun.  Ladle more juice if needed.  You need it, go ahead and spoon more on there.

We always serve them with pepperoncini.

Italian Beef

Mrs J suggested this and dug the beef out of the freezer this morning.  We hurried the thawing along with a hot water bath and then a turn or two in the microwave.  It was still pretty firm in the middle when I cut some slits and stuffed them with fresh garlic slices.  I fired the burner under the Dutch oven and got some oil hot and plopped the beef in there to brown.  While that was happening I mixed a cup or so of beef broth from the soup base I use.  To this is added a packet of Italian dressing seasoning, some oregano, basil, onion powder, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  With the meat browned on both sides I dumped the broth mixture into the pot and covered it.  I had bread in the oven so I simmered it on the stove top until the bread was done,  then took off the lid and stuck the pot in there.  Gave it about another 45 minutes or so then removed the beef to a cooling rack.  When cool the meat shredded easily.  I returned the meat to the pot and stirred.  Now is the time to dump in a jar of pepperoncinis, liquid and all.  Trust me on this.  Good stuff.

I mentioned something in an earlier post about the sourdough buns we used for this.  They were an attempt at hot dog buns.  They turned out in varying sizes and shapes, and they were tough and chewy-not the best thing for hot dogs.  Great for this Italian beef recipe, though!  There is plenty of juice that comes with the meat, and the practice is to dunk the sammiches into the juice.  It takes some tough buns to hold up to it.  These were just perfect for it.

Enjoy!

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