Monday, July 9, 2012

Doug's Slow Cooker Italian Beef

So this recipe is comes from my father-in-law and is one that is a homemade version of the classic Chicago sandwich, the Italian Beef.  There are notable differences, the main one being shredded beef vs the authentic, super-thin, deli-sliced beef and the fact that it's braised in a slow cooker rather than slow roasted in an oven.  Despite these differences, the flavor is amazing and therefore renders all arguments as to the authenticity of this recipe a mute point.  This makes a good bit, as well, so you can have a nice little dinner party or some delicious sandwiches for lunches all week long.

We've done a couple of variations to the original recipe that was passed on and I'm sure others will try some variations of their own, altering it in infinite ways.  We've used beer or red wine for the braising liquid, added sliced onions or peppers for some different flavors, and used a variety of herbs and spices and condiments to see what piques the taste buds in new and interesting ways.  Feel free to doctor it up any way you see fit and be sure to tell us so we can try it if it comes out well.

To go with a Chicago dish we naturally turn to a Chicago band that needs no introduction.  We've featured them before and probably will again at some point because they've been around that long and they're just that good.  Screeching Weasel is one of my favorite go-to punk bands when it comes to feeling nostalgic and returning mentally to the days of my youth, so I couldn't help but go with the song "Hey Suburbia" as suburbia was where I grew up for the most part. -justin

Time: 6-12 hr
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 medium onion, about a cup
  • 4 tbsp minced garlic
  • 5 tsp beef bullion or beef base
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 oz peperoncini with liquid
  • 2 cups water
  • 22 oz beer
  • 2.5 lbs of boneless beef chuck roast (or other fat laced beef shoulder cut)
Simply add all ingredients to slow cooker and set on low for 10-12 hrs or high for 6-7 hrs.  When done, shred the beef with forks, or other suitable utensils, and add back to braising liquid.  Serve on a crusty Italian bread roll with some shredded cheese; we prefer mozzarella.  To be truly Chi-town authentic, you'd need to top it with some giardinara and dip your roll in the braising liquid, or "juice", before loading it up and serving.

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