If you’re in Chicago and not Italian, you should be getting your Italian beef sandwiches from Italians. It’s us non-Chicagoan non-Italians who should be resorting to recipes.
And we’re just likely to get into trouble answering this one. The problem is, we have dozens of recipes – which is the right one? Which is most authentic? Which is best? As always, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. Here’s our choice:
Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich
1 5-lb rump roast 1 medium onion, diced 2 cups beef stock 1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp thyme 1 tsp dried marjoram 1 bay leaf 1 tsp hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 3 to 6 garlic cloves, crushed 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped 1 Tbsp fresh basil (optional) Italian bread or rolls
Preheat the oven to 300°F (160°C). Dry the roast, season it with salt and pepper, and place it on a rack in a roasting pan. Strew the onion over the top of the roast and put the pan in the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 140°F (60°C). Remove the roast to a platter or cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for a half hour.
Leave the roasting juices in the roasting pan and add all the other ingredients except the bread. On the top of the stove, heat and simmer the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, adding any juices that collect from the resting beef.
Slice the beef thinly, and arrange the slices in a dish. Strain the juice mixture, pour it over the beef, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
Heat the roast beef and sauce thoroughly. Put the sliced beef on Italian bread or rolls and spoon some of the sauce on top or serve it alongside for dipping.
Some recipes recommend adding grilled green pepper slices to the sandwich or a giardinera relish (made from pickled Greek peppers, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, turnips, red peppers, olives and onions).