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    Published April 1, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This tasty Italian beef recipe features thinly sliced roast beef cooked in a comfortably spicy, rich beef broth piled high on French bread rolls for an irresistible flavor. You will love how easy this is to make and how flavorful it is.

    We don’t eat beef that often these days, but occasionally, we do have a craving for some. When we do, we love making and eating this Pot Roast and Picanha Steak.



     

    Italian Beef

    Italian beef is a thin slice of beef that is heated in a zesty beef broth and is commonly served on a French Bread roll. It is also commonly accompanied by roasted sweet or hot peppers or giardiniera. Often the entire sandwich is dipped in the hot seasoned beef broth before serving it.

    Italian immigrants made it popular in Chicago during the early 1900s. They would slow-cook inexpensive, tougher cuts of beef in a spicy broth until it was fork-tender. The beef was then sliced and served on bread. You can get Italian beef at just about any sandwich shop in Chicago, and each place has its own unique flavor variation, but all are delicious.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    italian beef ingredients
    • Beef — You will need fully cooked and thinly sliced roast beef. However, you can also use pre-cooked and sliced deli roast beef.
    • Stock Beef stock is what’s needed. You could substitute with brodo or even water mixed with beef bouillon.
    • Spices – I used a combination of paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic granules, onion granules, celery seed, oregano, coriander seeds, and fennel seed. Other ingredients you could add are basil, thyme, and rosemary at 1 tablespoon each.
    • Salt – I always use coarse salt in my cooking and baking.
    • Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my cooking and baking to control the sodium content. However, any neutral-flavored oil will also work in this recipe.
    • Bread – It is very classic to use a French sandwich-style roll in this dish.

    How to Make an Italian Beef Sandwich

    Add the butter and spices to a large pot over low heat.

    butter and spices in a pot

    Cook the spices, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, to make them more intense in flavor and smell.

    mixing butter and spices

    Pour in the beef stock.

    adding broth to a pot

    Season very generously with salt. It should be very well seasoned as this will be the main ingredient to flavor the beef. Simmer the ingredients together for 20 minutes or until hot and flavorful. They call this mixture beef au jus in Chicago.

    seasoning broth in a pot

    Slice the roast beef very thin using a knife or meat slicer.

    slicing beef

    The other option would be to use precooked and sliced roast beef.

    thinly sliced roast beef

    Next, add the desired amount of beef to the hot beef au jus and cook it until heated, which takes about 2 minutes.

    adding sliced beef to broth in a pot

    Add the hot Italian beef onto a sliced French roll and add optional giardiniera.

    italian beef sandwiches

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: This Italian beef sandwich is meant to be eaten as soon as it’s done cooking. However, if you keep the flavored beef au jus separate from the sliced roast beef, it can be made up to 3 days ahead for freshness.

    How to Store: It is best to cover the beef and beef au jus separately and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If the sandwich is assembled, cover it with plastic and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days. This recipe will not freeze well.

    How to Reheat: Add the au to a medium-sized pot over low to medium heat. Once hot, add the desired amount of Italian beef and cook just until hot. Serve it as is or in a sandwich.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • Substitute the garlic and onion granules with powder.
    • If you like a spicier Italian beef, feel free to add in more crushed red pepper flakes.
    • If you’re determined to get your roast beef deli-thin, you may be able to ask your local butcher to slice it thinly on their meat slicer for a small fee.
    • Another classic topping is sweet peppers that have been gently roasted.
    • When ordering this sandwich in Chicago, you will be asked if you want it dipped. This means they will dip the sandwich in the beef au jus and serve it. I don’t prefer this, as it makes the bread soggy.
    • As an FYI, the show The Bear is supposed to be about the restaurant Mr. Beef, an Italian beef sandwich shop in Chicago.
    • This meal will easily scale down or up.
    • The absolute cheap way out is to use Italian dressing packets.
    • You can also season a roast beef with salt and pepper in a small amount of oil or butter and then braise it directly into the seasoned beef au jus. From there, you can cook it to medium rare, remove it, and chill it. You can then slice and heat it in the hot broth before serving. The other option would be to continue cooking it for 3 to 4 hours covered in the oven until it becomes fork tender. Shred it and serve it that way.
    • The broth should be incredibly flavorful and almost over-salted, as it is the main ingredient to season the beef.

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Italian Beef Recipe

    This Italian beef recipe features sliced roast beef cooked in a zesty broth and piled high on French bread rolls for an irresistible flavor.
    Servings: 8 to 10

    Ingredients 

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic granules
    • 1 tablespoon onion granules
    • 1 tablespoon paprika, this can be sweet or smoky
    • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
    • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
    • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 3 tablespoons dry oregano
    • 6 cups beef stock
    • 5 pounds thinly sliced roast beef
    • 10 French bread rolls

    Instructions

    • Add the butter and spices to a large pot over low heat.
    • Cook them constantly stirring for 3 to 4 minutes to make the spices more intense in flavor and smell.
    • Pour in the beef stock.
    • Season very generously with salt. It should be very well seasoned as this will be the main ingredient to flavor the beef. Simmer the ingredients together for 20 minutes or until hot and flavorful. They call this mixture beef au jus in Chicago.
    • Slice the roast beef very thin using a knife or meat slicer.
    • The other option would be to use precooked and sliced roast beef.
    • Next, add the desired amount of beef to the hot beef au jus and cook it until heated, which takes about 2 minutes.
    • Add the hot Italian beef onto a sliced French roll and add optional giardiniera.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: This Italian beef sandwich is meant to be eaten as soon as it’s done cooking. However, if you keep the flavored beef au jus separate from the sliced roast beef, it can be made up to 3 days ahead for freshness.
    How to Store: It is best to cover the beef and beef au jus separately and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If the sandwich is assembled, cover it with plastic and keep it in the refrigerator for 2 days. This recipe will not freeze well.
    How to Reheat: Add the au to a medium-sized pot over low to medium heat. Once hot, add the desired amount of Italian beef and cook just until hot. Serve it as is or in a sandwich.
    Substitute the garlic and onion granules with powder.
    If you like a spicier Italian beef, feel free to add in more crushed red pepper flakes.
    If you’re determined to get your roast beef deli-thin, you may be able to ask your local butcher to slice it thinly on their meat slicer for a small fee.
    Another classic topping is sweet peppers that have been gently roasted.
    When ordering this sandwich in Chicago, you will be asked if you want it dipped. This means they will dip the sandwich in the beef au jus and serve it. I don’t prefer this, as it makes the bread soggy.
    As an FYI, the show The Bear is supposed to be about the restaurant Mr. Beef, an Italian beef sandwich shop in Chicago.
    This meal will easily scale down or up.
    The absolute cheap way out is to use Italian dressing packets.
    You can also season a roast beef with salt and pepper in a small amount of oil or butter and then braise it directly into the seasoned beef au jus. From there, you can cook it to medium rare, remove it, and chill it. You can then slice and heat it in the hot broth before serving. The other option would be to continue cooking it for 3 to 4 hours covered in the oven until it becomes fork tender. Shred it and serve it that way.
    The broth should be incredibly flavorful and almost over-salted, as it is the main ingredient to season the beef.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 651kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 73gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 177mgSodium: 4993mgPotassium: 1220mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 639IUVitamin C: 128mgCalcium: 873mgIron: 21mg
    Course: lunch
    Cuisine: American, American Italian