Philadelphia is known for a lot of interesting things, but when it comes to food, there’s one dish that stands out like no other: Philly Cheesesteaks! Now if you’ve never been there or never heard of it, I highly doubt this will mean much to you so here’s a bit of a lowdown on this delicious meal, by the experts from VisitPhilly.com. “Here in Philadelphia, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance of flavors, textures and what is often referred to as the ‘drip’ factor. Other toppings may include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and hot or sweet peppers.
The cheesesteak made its official debut in 1930. Pat Olivieri was a South Philadelphia hot dog vendor who one day decided to put some beef from the butcher on his grill. A taxicab driver noticed the alluring aroma and asked for his own steak sandwich. The next day, as the story goes, rumor of the delicious lunch had spread, and cabbies around the city came to Olivieri demanding steak sandwiches. Soon after, Olivieri opened up a shop on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, Pat’s King of Steaks, to sell his new creation. Eventually, according to legend, he added cheese to the recipe. Today, Pat’s grills are sizzling 24 hours a day, as are Geno’s, the rival shop across the street. For 40 years, the two shops have waged a friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town, with Geno’s founder, Joe Vento, claiming it was he, not Olivieri, who first added cheese to the cheesesteak.”
If you ever find yourself in Philadelphia, you should without a doubt go and eat this dish, but in the meanwhile, I’ll hope you’ll settle for my Philly Cheesesteak buns! I tried to stay as true to the original recipe as possible, but I went for buns instead of rolls, simply because I couldn’t find a roll I liked but if you can find something similar to Amoroso or Vilotti-Pisanelli rolls (long, soft, and slightly salted): go for it!
Serves: 2 people (2 buns each)
- 250g thin roastbeef slices
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 2 small/medium onions
- 4 slices of provolone valdana dolce or provola cheese
- 4 kaiser rolls/buns/
- 1 teaspoon of satay spices
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Put the bread in the oven according to instructions on the package. However, set the timer to go off a few minutes earlier than instructed. We’ll be putting the bread back in the oven at the end of this recipe so don’t worry about it not being crispy enough.
While the bread is baking in the oven, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, heat up a bit of olive oil. Now let’s add those onions and green peppers! Let them cook for about 5 minutes at medium heat, until the paprika’s have softened and the onions are glazed. Now add a bit of pepper (3 grinds), satey spices and garlic as well as the roast beef and let it cook for a few more minutes at a lower heat.
Once the meat is no longer pink, but has a lovely shade of brown, spoon a bit of everything onto each bun. Divide the cheese on top of the meat mixture and put the other bun on top. Put it back in the oven for those last few minutes, until the cheese has melted, which shouldn’t take too long thanks to the heat of the oven and the warmth of our other ingredients!
I personally wouldn’t serve this with fries or chips, but go for a light green salad or perhaps a light potato salad as these buns are quite filling already.