Italian beef is the stuff of Chicago legend. Crusty bread filled with seasoned meat and a flavorful broth to dip the bread in.
Unlike its cousin, the French Dip (which is dipped into au jus as it is eaten), the Italian beef sandwich is constructed then traditionally immersed whole into the broth for a quick dip to add extra flavor. A good crusty Italian bread is the key.
Traditionally Italian beef is made with Italian giardiniera (jar-din-air-ah) which is a mixture of hot pickled veggies; usually carrots, celery, onion, hot peppers and cauliflower. You can purchase this at most grocery stores in the section where they keep the pickles.
There are many recipes online for Italian giardiniera but they all vary so much that I recommend trying some before attempting to make it so you know what you like and don’t like. It’s simple to make and very easy to adjust to your own taste. Also, if you only use it for this recipe you probably only want a smaller amount of it.
Because I can’t handle spicy food and to make this a bit more family friendly, I’m making it with a mirepoix (meer-pwah). You’ll hear that term a lot on cooking shows. All a mirepoix consists of is diced celery, carrots & onion. It sounds much fancier than it really is. Personally it drives me a little nuts when they use terms like this on cooking shows without explaining them. I think many novice cooks are scared away by things like that.
- Rump roast (size is up to you, depending on how many people you’re feeding)
- 2 envelopes of dry Italian dressing seasoning mix
- 1/2 bottle or Dr Pepper
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1-1/2 cups of mirepoix or a 12 oz jar of giardiniera
Put it all in the crockpot, set it and forget it! Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-12 hours (preferred). You may find that call for soda is a little unusual. It’s a great way to tenderize meat and add a little different flavor. If you find that you like the flavor but it’s a little on the sweet side, just add a splash of vinegar and it will take care of that for you.
Assembling the Work of Art:
When the meat is ready pull it out of the crockpot, remove any excess fat then shred the meat. Strain the veggies and mix them in with the meat and mix together. Load it on your favorite crusty bread. You can serve the broth on the side to dip in, or (realizing that there’s not a lot of room in the crockpot to move) grab the sandwich with tongs and give a quick ladle of broth over the sandwich.
Eat and enjoy!