Da Beef

A friend of mine recently ran the Chicago Marathon. She kept an impressive pace of 7:37 and I am incredibly proud of her. This woman has also run Boston… more than once! I hope she not only enjoyed herself, but I certainly hope she enjoyed some delicious local food after as well! She definitely deserves it after all of that hard work! Congrats on such a great accomplishment, Lindsy!

Typically when one thinks about Chicago, their first impression is deep-dish pizzas or Chicago dogs. However, impressive Italian beef sandwiches are also well known there as well. As a matter of fact, they may have originated in Chicago. Slow-roasted in Italian-seasoned broth, the boneless beef roast breaks down into a tender, juicy cut that slices beautifully. The beef and au jus are tossed together with cooked bell pepper strips and stuffed into a split hoagie roll. The entire sandwich is dunked in the unctuous au jus and topped in spicy giardiniera.

Our hoagies were created using Chicago-native Jeff Mauro’s spin on the classic. His “Da Beef” Italian Pot Roast Sandwich struck me as a hearty and fun dish for a Sunday evening dinner. Equally good in a slow-cooker, this oven-roasted dish was an herbaceous, messy wonderful place to be at our dinner table. The Mr even expressed that it smacked of one of the most authentic-tasting Italian Beef Sandwiches he’d had outside Chicago.

One ingredient I credit for this sentiment is my own home-dried herbs in which I infused the au jus. Another reason why this is an incredible compliment is that I chose to use Holland House Red Cooking Wine. The Mr hates when I use cooking wines. They’re incredibly cheap and don’t taste very good on their own, but they don’t require any knowledge of fine wines and pairings or a trip to the liquor store for a good bottle. They impart the acidity and sweetness everyone is looking for without overpowering any of the other flavors. It’s always meant to enhance; never stand out. I feel Holland House does this well.

In every recipe, we must of course exert our own unique twists. We shredded the beef after roasting instead of slicing it. It helped us fit the meat and vegetables better into the narrow hoagie rolls. We opted to use bacon grease in place of any vegetable oil. We have plenty on hand and well, we just really like it! Last, but not least, we ate ours on pretzel hoagie rolls for our own unique twist. The pretzel bread with its crispy exterior and soft malty-sweet interior was the perfect foil for the savory, drippy beef.

These were so, so good! What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy a good pot roast?

Current Reading: The Meat Racket by Christopher Leonard

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