When in Philadelphia, you gotta give this sandwich a try. Which do you consider the best cheesesteak in Philly? Here’s my version I make at home in-between visits.
A little backstory:
The Fancy Food Show is currently going on in Las Vegas from January 21 – 23rd. I pretty much go every winter to check out upcoming food trends. It’s such a blast. A few years ago the show was immediately followed by Expo East in Philadelphia (another food show). It turned out to be the best business trip because one of my favorite bands, Future Islands, was playing the one day in-between the two shows. So of course, I flew overnight from Vegas to Philly to see them live at The Fillmore.
I absolutely fell in love with Philadelphia. The people, the architecture, and of course… the food! I ordered my first Philly Cheesesteak inside Reading Terminal Market (a must visit marketplace!) and I can’t wait to go back again this upcoming September to attend Expo East and order another delicious sandwich! Some folks on the plane told me to also order a Philly Italian Pork Sandwich: which features broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, provolone, and sometimes topped with pepperoncinis. I couldn’t find one last time, but I’ll definitely be on the prowl this next time!
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS RECIPE:
Traditionally, patrons get the choice of topping their Philly with provolone, white American, or cheese wiz. Oh, and sometimes fried onions. It’s a marvelous combination served piping hot on a toasted hoagie roll. I went ahead and kept things classic… but I did double the amount of cheese 😉 . Here’s what you’ll need:
TO TOAST THE BREAD:
- Hoagie rolls
FOR THE SKILLET:
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- Yellow Onion
- Green Bell Pepper
- Thinly Sliced Sirloin
- Seasonings (listed below)
MAKING CALABRIAN CHEESE WIZ:
- American Cheese Slices
- Heavy Cream
- Crushed Calabrian Peppers (optional)
I prefer to toast my hoagie rolls with mayonnaise instead of butter. I personally think the flavor is better and you get this nicely browned crust when quickly seared in the skillet. However, if you want to use butter instead, go for it! I also wanted to add a little bit of spice, so that’s where the Calabrian peppers came into play when making the cheese wiz. This is totally optional, but I promise you it’s so incredibly delicious. Highly recommend a layer on top!
DEVELOPING THIS MARVELOUS MASTERPIECE:
I’m not stranger to taking some of my favorite classics and revamping them with what I have on hand (Hello Philly Cheesesteak Tacos! How-To Video Included!). This here though I wanted to keep tried and true. Of course, I did add the Calabrian peppers… so don’t hate me for that – it’s a grand addition! Here are a few pointers to ensure the tastiest sandwich around:
- Don’t skimp on the meat, trust me on this. You’ll want to opt for ribeye or sirloin. Ribeye is a bit more expensive, so I usually grab the sirloin. Both are excellent choices. The key here though is THINLY sliced. You can ask the butcher to do it for you at your local grocer (they’ve got nice machines for that!) or you can give it a whirl at home. If slicing at home, I’d suggest putting the meat in the freezer for at least 20 minutes because it’ll be slightly hardened and easier to slice.
- Toasting the hoagie rolls is a must. Otherwise, the juices from the interior ingredients will soak into the non-toasted bread and it’ll be come soggy. No one likes a soggy sandwich.
- The main part of this recipe only takes one pan. First I sauté the onions and peppers in a large skillet or dutch oven. You don’t want to brown them, just cook on low heat until soften and slightly caramelize. Remove them once perfectly finished and add the beef with seasonings to the same pan. Once browned, I top with the cheese and cover… allowing the cheese to melt. Then you’ll mix it all together before serving!
- Like I mentioned earlier in my post, the cheese wiz is totally optional. I do think it adds that extra special touch though. If you want to skip it, your sandwich is ready to enjoy (and totally mouth-watering) after step 3 above.
- Suggestions for serving: 2023’s Version of Grandma June’s Cheesy Potatoes (viral recipe), my Homemade Cream of Celery Soup, these Air Fryer Potato Wedges, or a blog favorite… Crispy Cheesy Dill Pickle Chips.
MORE HANDHELDS YOU’LL ENJOY:
- 4 Hogie Rolls
- 4 tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, sliced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1.5 lbs. Thinly Sliced Sirloin
- ½ - 1 tsp. EACH: Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
- 6 oz. Sliced or Shredded Provolone
- 10 American Cheese Slices
- 4 - 5 tbsp. Heavy Cream
- 1 tbsp. Crushed Calabrian Peppers
- Cut the hoagie rolls in half and slather the inside with mayonnaise. Turn on a skillet over medium heat and place the rolls, mayo-side-down, and toast for about two minutes, or until golden. Remove and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a skillet and turn down to medium-low heat. Sauté the onion and pepper until softened and then transfer to a bowl. To the same pan, brown the beef with seasonings over medium-high heat. Once fully cooked, add back the onion, pepper, and top with provolone cheese. Turn off the burner and cover to melt the cheese.
- While the cheese is melting, make the cheese wiz. Simply pile the slices together and cut into smaller chunks. Add to a stock pot over low heat and cover with heavy cream. Continuously stir while the cheese melts and marries together with the heavy cream. If desired, add the crushed Calabrian peppers and stir to combine after melted.
- Remove the lid from the meat mixture and stir the provolone to fully combine. Divide the cheesy meat among the four toasted hoagie rolls. Pour the cheese wiz into a warm bowl and serve on the side or drizzled on top of the sandwiches. Enjoy immediately!
NOTES ON THIS RECIPE:
- I usually add about 1 teaspoon each of the seasonings. Before serving, I’ll taste a little bit of the meat mixture to ensure it has enough salt. Feel free to add more, if desired. I suggested between 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon because I know some folks try to limit their salt intake.
- Only assemble the hoagie rolls you are expecting to eat immediately. Any leftover meat, rolls, or cheese wiz should be stored separately, covered and refrigerated, and consumed within 1 – 2 days. I suggest warming the meat in a skillet or microwave, and re-toast the bread in the toaster oven or air fryer. The cheese wiz can be reheated in the microwave, then assemble the sandwiches and enjoy.
- A few leftover ideas other than sandwiches: Pile the meat mixture on top of French fries and top with remaining cheese wiz (or more provolone). Voila… loaded Philly fries! You could also serve the leftovers over baked potatoes. I have a hunch this would also be great mixed into pasta or white mac and cheese… stay tuned for that (I’m totally gonna try it!).
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