Italian Beef with Pepperoncini



1 (4 lb) very lean roast or 4 lbs good lean steak
2 T of Grapeseed or other high heat oil
1 cup beef stock
1 cup juice from the jar of pepperoncini
1/2 cup pepperoncini, sliced
2 bay leaves
10 or more garlic cloves, minced
1 t dried Mediteranean oregano
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 Calabrian chile, minced – optional
12 slices smoky provolone cheese
12 whole wheat buns

Optional Toppings:

8 oz pepperoncini, sliced (deliciously pickled Italian pepper)
8 oz Italian mix Giardiniera (a vinegary mixture of cauliflower, carrots, celery, and peppers)
1/2 onion, sliced, browned in 1 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced, browned with the onion

Spoon Mage™ Notes:

Traditional Italian beef is roasted in the oven. A sharp meat slicer is then used to shave thin slices of delicious beef. Many of us do not have the type of slicer this requires. Our best option is to braise the roast or steak. The flavors of pepperoncini and beef stock incorporate within the meat, tenderizing it to form a wonderful Chicago memory. Use two forks to shred the meat.

Which meat is best? The type of beef varies from restaurant to restaurant in Chicago. Most use a roast of one kind or another. One interesting restaurant uses prime tenderloin. My favorite is prime sirloin. Make the batch for dinner and freeze the leftover meat in the portions you need. Enjoy.


Trim the fat off the roast and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium high heat. Brown the roast well in the hot oil, turning every few minutes until every bit of the roast is well browned. Don’t turn the roast too often as it is contact with the hot oil that will create the delicious brown bits.

If your roast is too big to have clearance on the sides in your pot, cut it in half and brown the halves  separately. If you are using steak, do one at a time. Crowding meat into a pot for this step reduces the delicious brown.

Leave the browned meat in the pot, reduce the temperature to medium low, and add one cup beef stock, one cup juice from the jar of pepperoncini, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, fresh cracked black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

You may, if you wish, chop up one deliciously spicy Calabrian chile to add here if you enjoy a bit of heat.

Bring the whole to a simmer, reduce the temp to low, cover with a lid, and simmer two hours. Do not let the liquid come to a boil as that will toughen some of the roasts.

Now you just let it sit. Patiently.

After two hours, slice the meat into into approximately six small chunks. This reduces the amount of cooking time. Let the meat go for one more hour.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion and red bell pepper in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium low until the veggies are nicely browned, approximately 30 minutes. Set aside.

After about three hours (total so far) of cooking time, or when the roast is fork tender, pick up a chunk of meat, transfer it to a cutting board, and shred it well. Return to the pot and repeat with the remaining chunks.

Continue to simmer covered for at least 30 minutes. If the meat did not shred sufficiently the first time, this is the time to finish the job with two sturdy forks.

Notice that the sauce has reduced quite a bit from the liquid that merges with the shredded beef. At this point, you only want to keep enough liquid in the pot to keep the meat moistened. You may keep the lid off as it simmers to reduce it more, or add a little more beef stock, 1/4 cup at a time, as needed.

Remove the bay leaves, taste, and adjust the seasonings.

Cover and keep it warm on the stove while preparing buns.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Slice and open hoagie buns, lay them on a large baking sheet, top each bun with smoky provolone cheese, and toast open face in the oven until the cheese melts. This happens quickly so do not leave the buns unattended.

Fill the buns with the beef and a drizzle of stock. Top with sliced pepperoncini, Giardiniera, and a bit of the sautéed onions and red bell pepper.

Enjoy it very mindfully indeed… with a large number of napkins.

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