Spring Means Sandwiches: French Dip Philly Cheesesteak

As the temperature gets warmer and the sun is shining longer, Kaia and I have been getting excited by this incredible spring (in Southern California it feels more like summer with temps in the high 70’s/low 80’s). With the warmer weather we have been on a sandwich kick, so last night we decided to explore a modified Philly Cheesesteak.

Our Philly Cheesesteak took a French dip turn for the best and we are so excited to share it with you!

Trust us when we say that this sandwich, or more aptly titled huge-wich, is not for the faint of heart. We typically try to eat healthy, but in this case we were just craving a gigantic, gut buster of a sandwich. In my professional life, I invested in a small chain of New York style deli’s, mostly because I LOVE DELI SANDWICHES… A lot of everything all wrapped up in one cored-out bread exterior.

I hadn’t had a sandwich like this in quite some time. Kaia said “I am just excited about the meat and cheese!” There was a devilish giggle that followed. In parenthood, we often have those “fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” moments, and this was one of them. She is her father’s daughter, through and through. The bread didn’t matter to her, but it gave me an idea: we’d use the juices from the meat to create a type of Au Jus for the thick French loaf to soak up.

French Dip Philly Cheesesteak for 2 – This sandwich epitomizes GLUTTONY!

– 1 lb. thinly sliced chuck roast
- Buy the roast raw and we’ll tell you how to cook it below (it’s super easy!). Parents, use your sharpest kitchen knife to slice the raw chuck roast thin. This is generally a tougher meat, and you’ll want to handle this part. Have the kids put the meat into a bowl or on a plate to be seasoned – season with salt and pepper, set aside.

– 1 green bell pepper – Quarter the pepper, and then remove the white stuff holding the seeds and the seeds. Here’s a cautionary tale: I once sliced the tip of my middle finger off cutting bell peppers. Slicing bell peppers on the skin side is a bad idea. Once quartered, lay the pieces flat on your cutting board and slice them skin side down.

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– 1 white onion – Remove the outer layers and slice off the top and bottom. Cut the onion in half, then in half again. Do this from top to bottom. The goal is to get strips of onion, not rings. Use the quartered pieces and slice away. Once you are done slicing add them to pile of peppers.

– 1 loaf french bread
 – Cut down the center of the loaf to create a big mouth for the yummy ingredients, but keeping one side intact (like a hot dog bun). Have the kiddo’s pull out some of the bread from inside to help make a shell for those yummy ingredients.

– 1/4 lb. Provolone cheese
 – surprisingly getting the cheese sliced at the deli ends up being more bang for your buck. Comparatively speaking, the cheese that is pre-packaged tends to be more expensive and a lesser amount than getting it in the deli section. The deli section cheese is also fresher, and we think it tastes better. Wherever you get the provolone, it should be sliced.

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As promised, the cooking process is really simple and easy. Kaia and I started by turning on the oven to 425 degrees. Make sure there is a rack in the center of the oven. Have the kiddo grab a saucepan or a cast iron pan. The cast iron pan is one of our fav’s and the pan helps keep the most flavor in the meat and veggies. Other than some tongs you really don’t need any other tools to complete this gluttonous meal for 2 to 4 people.

Heat the pan to a medium temp. Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil or unsalted butter. Add the veggies (peppers and onions) and sprinkle them with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Sautee these gems until the onions become a little translucent.

Add the thinly sliced meat to the same pan. Mix everything together and cover. You can play it by ear, but Kaia likes to turn the heat down slightly “so it doesn’t overcook, Daddy.” Sometimes she directs me in the kitchen and I oblige. We don’t always have the proper lid so we just use aluminum foil as a cover. Cook the meat, onion, and peppers between 6 and 8 minutes, mixing occasionally.

During that period of cook time lay the cheese on both sides of the bread loaf. Be sure to keep 2 or 3 slices set aside for topping on the meat for each sandwich. Put the cheese-covered loaf in the oven. Be sure to keep an eye on it, you only want to melt the cheese.

Kaia grabbed the tongs and cutting board. She used the tongs to grab the bread from the oven and slide it on the cutting board.

I pulled the lid off the meat and veggies and mixed one last time. I used the tongs to load up the bread loaf with the tasty delights from the pan. Kaia put the leftover cheese evenly over the meat and we slid it back in the oven for about 3 minutes. To create our Au Jus we strained the juices from the pan into ramekins (aka small cups) for your dipping pleasure.

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BOOM! Another gluttonous sandwich at our fingertips.

Enjoy! We sure did!

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