I spent the first sixteen years of my life in the Chicago area and northwest suburbs. Not a tremendous amount of time, but long enough to have had the classic Chicago style Italian beef sandwich make an impact on me. I mean how many could I have possibly had in that short amount of time? But, I can still remember them....the flavor, the parchment paper wrapper, the juicy messiness....so yummy!
I've found some recipes online and first shared them with my family a few years ago. I got that crazy craving just recently and made a huge crockpot full again just the other day. Man oh Man! Those beautiful aromas wafting all day long as the flavors slowly simmer together. This one was slightly different than the first recipe and I enjoyed it even more than the first......so, fair is fair right? I'm going to share it with you.
- giardiniera comes in many varieties....I chose the classic, which is cauliflower, celery, carrots, pickles and pearl onions. There is a "Chicago" variety which also includes hot peppers. Also, you can choose from mild, medium, and hot. Also, the only version of giardiniera I could find was the version with very large pieces of vegetables....I brought it home and used my food processor to chop it into small pieces.
- I ended up with a lot of meat juices in addition to the broth that I had already added. You may need to add additional flavoring to your liking. I added in some black pepper, oregano and basil.
- the true Chicago style sandwich does not include cheese, but I chose to put some shredded "Italian blend" cheese on the side for folks to sprinkle on top if they wanted.
- This freezes well....and, I'm going to look forward to some sandwiches this fall/winter while watching Sunday football!