Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Philly Cheesesteaks

One of the biggest things we miss about Philadelphia is the cheesesteak. You can't get one anywhere in Pittsburgh that tastes anything like 'em. Plus - Pittsburgh has no idea how to make a real Philly cheesesteak - they do not come with lettuce, tomatoes, and mushrooms!

Sure, you could go to Pat's or Geno's and get your "whiz wit", but the best cheesesteaks come from a little place hidden away in a small shopping plaza (Pennsport Mall) in south Philly - Gooey Louie's. Louie's isn't fancy - not by a long shot. It's mainly a small convenience store with a grill in the back, but it's Philly's best kept secret. Louie's doesn't do "whiz", but that's ok. They top theirs with white American cheese and they somehow manage to get it, well, gooey! The sandwiches are also piled high with about a pound of meat and fried onions.

Let's get started. What I've assembled here is what I think will make the most authentic Philly cheesesteak. I have:

2 large vidalia onions
White American cheese
chipsteak (thin slices of beef)
Italian bread (2 foot long loaves)

The chipsteak comes from a local beef farm. Their cows are free-range and organic. Not that it will make a better cheesesteak, but it's good quality beef.

In a cast iron skillet*, sautee the diced onions with about 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

*It doesn't have to be cast iron, per se, it's just my new favorite skillet.

You want the onions nice and caramelized so they are sweet and tender. Then place them in a bowl and set aside.

To get that gooey texture to the cheese, I cut up my cheese into pieces and put it in a double boiler covered with plastic wrap. Let this sit over simmering water and the cheese will melt nicely.

In the same skillet that you fried the onions, brown the chipsteak. I chopped the steak up into smaller pieces before cooking.

Take your Italian rolls and split them down the middle. With a spatula, spread the melted American cheese on the roll. Then add the browned steak and top with fried onions. (I also put ketchup on mine.)

To get the full experience, I wrap them in foil and let them sit a few minutes so all of the flavors can meld, the cheese oozes down into the meat and the bread softens a bit.
Yes - I can see you drooling now! Josh said we should open a restaurant since these were so spot-on. I'm gonna charge $10 for a foot long cheesesteak. Who wants to place an order?

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