Saturday, May 16, 2009

Being "Home" and Philly Cheesesteaks

Being back in Pennsylvania brings back many memories and of course with all my siblings here we have been doing our share of reminiscing. Yesterday on the way to the pharmacy to pick up my dad's pain medicine for his trip home I even drove through some of my old neighborhood haunts.

Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. No?

All this nostalgia made me think of Philadelphia Cheese steaks. Here's an ex-pat's updated version of the classic Pennsylvania sandwich:

Not So Philly Cheese steaks: (makes 4 sandwiches)

1 pound hangar steak (also known as skirt steak)
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
A-1 Steak Sauce
4 Portugese rolls (or your favorite hard sandwich roll)
2 teaspoons olive oil divided
Salt and Pepper
1 tablspoon melted butter.

Heat Grill to Medium High
Trim steak of any extra fat or have your butcher do it.
Rub with 1 teas. olive oil, both sides
Rub all over with Salt and Pepper
Set aside.

Meanwhile slice onion thinly. Heat remaining teaspoon olive oil in saute pan and add onions. Slowly, sweat the onion (very low heat) until soft, then turn up heat a bit and cook until golden.

Split rolls and brush inside top and bottom with melted butter.

Grill steak about 4 minutes per side for medium. When done, tent with foil and let rest.
Place rolls, butter side down on grill and toast about 60 seconds.

To assemble:

Slice steak thinly, on the diagonal. Place 1/4 of meat on bottom of 1 roll. Top with blue cheese crumbles, then onion, then a drizzle of A-1 steak sauce. Repeat with other 3 sandwiches.

Serve with chips and an ice cold beer.

A Cook's Notes: I did not give you the "classic" recipe for a Philly Steak Sandwich because there are hundreds of variations and an ongoing war as to who has the "best", who made it first, and whether you need cheese (what kind), onions, the proper roll, sauce, etc. Suffice it to say I wouldn't even call this a Philly Cheese Steak OUT LOUD for fear of insighting a riot.

If you don't like blue cheese, try cheddar, provolone, swiss or american, but for the love of God, please don't call it a Philly Cheese Steak or even mention where you got the recipe. If you want an honest to goodness, authentic, Philly Steak - go to Philly, just don't ask me to choose the sidewalk stand, I'd like to come back to PA.
ps: If you don't believe me as to the controversy surrounding the Philadelphia Cheese Steak - google it. You will find the history, the ingredients, the authenticity [reputted] and everything you ever wanted to know about this sandwich. Pennsylvanians are serious about this sandwich!


  1. Oh boy - my husband's going to love this one! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This sounds like perfect comfort food. Too funny that I also have a recipe post up today.

    Love your blog! Come stop by when you have a chance.

  3. Laura,

    Thanks for the nice words. Do stop back as I post a new recipe daily along with some ramblings of my own.

    Lover of Life,
    Men DO seem to like this sandwich. They are a bit small (by Philly Cheese Steak standards) but very rich and flavorful!


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