A cheesesteak really is a simple sandwich made with thinly sliced piece of beefsteak and lightly melted low-fat or fat-free cheese on a long loaf of bread. Originating in the U.S. town of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it has it’s roots firmly planted on the New England shore. While there are many variations to cheesesteaks, what remains constant is that they are usually served on white bread. This is also true for the close-up regional versions of the classic sandwich which are usually served on a wheat or rye sandwich roll (in place of the original roll). But more recently, many restaurants in London and other European cities have been substituting the traditional white bread for leavened or baked wheat crusty sandwich bread. So, which is really the real thing?
One of the most popular versions of a cheeseburger is the traditional cheddar one that can be found on any corner of a deli or Italian deli. This kind of cheeseburger is made by melting a piece of Swiss cheese and then rubbing in a half inch or so of Provolone cheese. You can also substitute another cheese if you prefer (we’ll get to that in a second) but either way, onions, bell pepper or tomato work well with Provolone. Usually, the bread is made with whole wheat bread, although if you’re not sure, it’s probably wise to opt for a no-sour wheat bread just to be safe.
The second most popular version of a cheeseburger is the New York Style cheesesteak. This is named after the white sauce typically used to top a cheeseburger and which can be created by mixing sour cream, mayonnaise, white vinegar, garlic, cheddar cheese, and a pinch of salt. In addition, you can put cooked onions, green bell pepper, a bit of chopped tomatoes, chopped celery, a bit of green chili, and a bit of fresh parsley. Most people serve this kind of a cheesesteak with a slice of whole-wheat French bread, but if you want to go with traditional bread, fine, too. Other things you can add are additional layers of vegetables like broccoli or spinach.
If you’re going to go all out and create your own handcrafted cheesesesteak, make sure you have the proper tools. A steak knife is absolutely necessary, as is a heavy skillet (one with a handle so you can use it to transfer the steak to a different location without burning yourself) and a wire whisk. While it’s true that you probably won’t need anything fancy to cook a steak, you’d be surprised how much flavor you can add by using various types of garnishes. Most people serve melted provolone on top of their cheesessteaks, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can always put a little melted Swiss cheese on the top instead. This is one of the few times when using a Swiss knife is actually necessary.
To make the big surprise, you can also serve a beef stew along with your cheesesteak. To do this, you simply have to brown some beef along with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and a couple of spices in your frying pan. Let this cook until the onions are translucent and then turn off the heat. Place the beef on top of the mushrooms in your frying pan and cover for at least half an hour.
After half an hour, take your crock pot and set your onions in it. Cover the crock pot tightly, but leave enough head room for the onions to steam. When you’re ready to drain the grease from the bottom of the pan, use a spatula or kitchen rag to gently push the bottom of the onions and bell peppers towards the edges of the opening. If you find that the onions are still a bit greasy, just dip a towel in non-stick cooking spray and gently wipe away the excess oil. You can repeat this process until the onions are a nice brown color.
After this, remove your cheeses from the heat source. You may want to assemble your cheeses so that the onion and bell pepper slices don’t stick together. Place your small frying pan in the frying pan and cover until your cheeses have finished cooking. Now you can add your sliced onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and your American cheese.
Finally, remove your meat from its packaging. Using a wooden bread bowl or a fork, press the meat to break it down into smaller pieces. Remove the small pieces of meat and place them on your large bread roll. Roll the meat tightly using your fingers to seal it tightly.