This is the home version of the renowned sandwich featured on the FX on Hulu series “The Bear.” Its onscreen recipe was developed by the show’s Chicago-raised culinary producer, Courtney Storer — sister of “The Bear’s” creator, Christopher Storer, and former culinary director for L.A.’s Jon & Vinny’s — alongside chef Matty Matheson.
Courtney Storer uses beef chuck in the video demonstration above, but she’s also used top round or top sirloin roast. She suggests that you choose the cut of meat that best fits your budget. Soft, American-style French bread, not crusty sourdough, is a critical component. Storer uses bread from the Chicago-founded Turano Baking Co., which is sometimes sold at Aldi supermarkets; we also found that Gonnella and Amoroso sandwich rolls, available from Smart & Final, have a good consistency. Storer browns her meat with a quartered onion and a head of garlic halved horizontally; she says you can also brown the meat separately and then sauté six sliced garlic cloves, or even skip the browning step altogether if time is short.
For the giardiniera, Storer says that what you find jarred in your local supermarket or deli should work fine. If you want to make your own, any basic giardiniera recipe will work — you soak your vegetables with enough water to cover them and about 1/2 cup of salt for 8 hours or overnight, then mix your drained vegetables with a cup of white vinegar and a cup of olive oil, plus garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and black peppercorns, refrigerating it all for 2 days before using. Storer distinguishes hers by using fennel bulbs in addition to the traditional carrot, celery and cauliflower. Many use sweet red peppers as well. If you like it hot, add jalapeño, sport peppers or, Storer’s preference, serrano peppers. She also likes to heat the vinegar with the aromatics (the garlic, oregano and spices) and pour that over the soaked vegetables with the oil.
Pack as much of the thinly sliced beef as you can into the Italian sandwich roll before dousing it with jus and adding your choice of giardiniera.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Sprinkle the mixture all over the roast and use your hands to rub the seasoning into the meat on all sides.
In a large, heavy-bottom, oven-proof pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and brown well on all sides, using tongs to turn it as needed, 7 to 10 minutes total. Remove the meat from the pan and rest it on a plate. Leave any rendered fat in the pan.
Add the garlic and onion to the pan and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until very fragrant and just barely beginning to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to let it burn. Immediately pour in the beef stock, and with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck-on bits of beef. Stir in the bouillon, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, crushed chili flakes, optional celery seeds, paprika and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt and 1½ teaspoons of pepper.
Return the beef to the pan and turn it a few times in the broth to moisten it all over. Slide the pan into the oven and cook, covered with aluminum foil, until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 125 to 150 degrees, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, let cool and then chill the beef in the braising liquid — pan and all — in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and, if desired, skim the layer of fat from the top and discard. While still cold, transfer the roast to a cutting board and use a large, sharp knife to slice the entire roast as thinly as possible — ⅛ inch thick or less (the thinner, the better). Meanwhile, return the pan with the jus to the stovetop over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Place the sliced meat in the pan with the jus and cook gently until the beef is warmed through and no longer pink, 10 to 12 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice the rolls lengthwise, partway but not all of the way through the equator, leaving the top and bottom attached to each other with a 1- to 2-inch “hinge.” Lay the rolls on the parchment, open side down. Toast them in the oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
To assemble the sandwiches, hold a roll in the palm of one hand with the opening facing up and the hinge resting in your palm. Holding the roll over the pan of meat, use tongs to lift a few slices of beef out of the jus and nestle them into the roll. Allow for plenty of jus to moisten the bread, spooning more of the liquid over the meat if the bread is too dry. Fill each roll with as much of the beef as you can fit — and then add a little more. Garnish with giardiniera to taste.
Gonnella and Amoroso sandwich rolls are available at Smart & Final and other select grocers.
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