I’ve had the real thing from Pat’s in Philadelphia, and this homemade version I tried last week made for a hearty homemade weeknight sandwich that hit the spot. Next time, I’ll use even more provolone and maybe some shredded mozzarella and make a little beef broth au jus on the side. Bolillo bread, which is what I used, is the easiest option for sandwiches like this, but they can be a little dry.
The Philly cheesesteak recipe is from Gabrielle Langholtz’s “America: The Cookbook” (Phaidon, $49.95), a thick, stately volume with every regional dish you could conjure, from Yankee pot roast to Baja fish tacos, which will come in handy for every Super Bowl and World Series and maybe even an Iowa caucus. From Texas, you’ll find recipes for Hatch apple pie and cornbread, barbacoa, margaritas, migas and South Texas antelope with prickly pear glaze. For this recipe, don’t skip the freezing of the meat, and you’ll need a sharp knife to get the slices paper thin. Your fingers will get cold, so use a kitchen towel to help grip the steak.
3/4 pound beef sirloin, ribeye or eye of round
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into very thin rings
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices provolone cheese, or more to taste
2 hoagie buns, sub or hero rolls, split lengthwise
Dill pickles, for serving
Place the beef in the freezer for 1 hour. Slice the beef paper thin, then into 1-inch pieces. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over high heat until almost at the smoking point. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and mushrooms (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is wilted and the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes. Add the “chipped” steak and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Still in the pan, divide the meat mixture into 2 mounds. Top each mound with the provolone and melt the cheese, then transfer to the rolls. Serve with a dill pickle.
— From “America: The Cookbook” by Gabrielle Langholtz (Phaidon, $49.95)