I’m continuing my own great tradition of condoning the bastardisation of traditional recipes by bludgeoning the classic Philly Cheesesteak. (See also Carbonara and Mac’n’Cheese). A ‘Great American Classic’ found on basically every menu in the US, it is of course best in its native Philadelphia. I’d personally go as far as to say its the only good thing about Philadelphia with the exception of the non-existent sales tax on clothes and the GAP outlet store. Its certainly a significantly improved cultural experience than going to view the Liberty Bell (it’s small, broken, made in the UK in any event and definitely not worth queuing up to see!).
The classic sandwich is comprised of a ‘Hoagie‘ roll, extremely thin sliced rib-eye steak and processed cheese. No veg, no actual cheese. Many places serve it with caramelised onion, mushrooms and peppers which is the route I’ve taken along with using a cheaper cut of steak (silverside) and cheese with actual cheese in it. You can use whatever steak your budget affords you – as I mentioned, the traditional cut is rib-eye.
I served two with this recipe – it was ridiculous and quite a lot went to waste (mostly bread and veg!). Realistically it serves 4 hungry people with a side such as roasted sweet potatoes.
2 tbsp Butter
2 Bell Peppers
4 Hoagie/Submarine Rolls
1 tsp Lemon Juice
500g Grated Mozzerella/Cheddar
Sea Salt Flakes
Finely slice 2 Onions into half moons and start to gently fry them with 2 tbsp Butter and Sea Salt Flakes on a medium heat. Once the are starting sizzle, add a little water to the pan, turn the heat down and cover with a lid. This is low and slow onion caramelising.
Whilst the onion are gently cooking, slice 900g Steak as thinly as possible. Use something heavy to bash each slice a little thinner. This will held tenderise the meat as you will be quick cooking it.
Tip – A good trick to doing this is you have time to plan ahead is to lightly freeze the steak which will make it easier to slice thinly.
Tip – Make sure to slice against the grain. Here is a handy guide to what that means.
Finely slice 300g Mushrooms and gently fry with a few sprays of Frylight and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Add the cooked mushrooms to the now softened and lightly browned onions.
Repeat with 2 Bell Peppers. Cover the cooked veg with a pan lid or foil and set aside.
To prepare the bread ready for the fillings, split 4 Hoagie/Submarine Rolls in half. Mash 1 Avocado with a fork and stir in 1 tsp Lemon Juice and a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Spread a quarter of the avocado mixture over one half of each of the bread rolls. Set aside.
Tip – For guidance on how to remove the flesh from an avocado easily, check out my step-by-step guide.
Take the largest frying pan you have and put it on the largest hob you have on full heat. Let ig get smoky hot then add slices of the beef to the pan.
Tip – Do not overcrowd the pan – this process is going to take several batches. You want to very quickly fry each slice of beef, not stew them.
When the underside of the beef is golden brown, turn the slices and cook until the second side is also a good golden brown colour.
Tip – The whole process should take about 3 minutes depending on the effectiveness of your hob and pan.
Remove the beef to a chopping board and repeat with the rest of the slices.
Once all the beef is cooked, gather it together on the chopping board and using a large knife run through it a couple of time, chopping it into smaller pieces.
Tip – you can go as small as you like – the smaller the pieces, the easier they will be to eat. The bigger the pieces, the more texture they will have.
Put the chopped beef back in the frying pan in one even layer, this time on a lower heat. Sprinkle 500g Grated Mozzerella/Cheddar over the beef and cover with a lit. Leave for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has mostly melted.
Assemble the sandwiches by layering a quarter of the beef/cheese mix on top of the avocado layer on each roll then top with one quarter of the veg mixture.
Tip – The veg will still be warm but if you would prefer it to be piping hot, put it back on heat for a couple of minutes whilst the cheese is melting.
Serve and marvel at the fact that I thought two of these constituted one portion!!