Demand for tickets to watch the Philadelphia Phillies is huge today (single tickets went on sale this morning, spurring huge lineups). If you can’t swing tickets to the games, you can celebrate the season at home with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich that’s easy to make from scratch. Who needs seasons tickets?
Most Philly cheesesteak recipes are similar – this one is adapted from the lovely Sunny Anderson of the Food Network. Sunny suggests using processed cheese, like Velveeta, which does melt beautifully, but I prefer using the real thing – aged cheddar – orange or white. Aged Gouda works well, too – or if you’re a fan of blue cheese, it makes an amazing sauce to pair with flank steak. If you do this, ditch the chipotle chiles to allow the flavor of the blue cheese to come through.
Classic Philly Cheesesteak
Adapted from Sunny Anderson of the Food Network.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
juice of a lemon or lime
handful chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
a glug or two of hot sauce
a smaller glug of Worcestershire sauce
a good grinding of black pepper
1 lb flank steak
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. chopped chipotle chiles in adobo (or a few drops of chipotle hot sauce – optional)
1 cup milk
1 cup grated old cheddar or crumbled blue cheese
1 red pepper, cut into strips
4 sub or hoagie rolls
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced (optional)
Place all the marinade ingredients and flank steak in a heavy zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight, turning the bag once in awhile.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat; whisk in the flour, then the chipotle chiles and milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking often, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Stir in the cheese and remove from heat. After a few minutes, whisk until smooth.
Remove the steak from its marinade and thinly slice against the grain – aim for slices that are about 1/4 inch thick. Heat a drizzle of canola or olive oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat and cook the beef in batches, without crowding the pan, until done to your liking. (Alternatively, grill the whole steak on your grill, then let rest and thinly slice.) Set aside. If you like, give the red pepper strips a quick turn in the pan, too.
To assemble the sandwiches, layer cooked beef, peppers, avocado (if you’re using it) and cheese sauce in the hoagie buns and serve immediately.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/msheldrake