I love a good cheesesteak. Because I am, after all, a human being, and my puny human brain can’t possibly hope to compete with the ridiculously addictive, downright diabolical combination of animal protein, refined carbohydrates, melty, fatty cheese, sweet onions, and buckets of salt. Sometimes, I’ll throw some mayonnaise on their for good measure, as a final kiss-off to my cardiologist* and almost sure-fire guarantee that Jillian will get to collect on my life insurance policy.
*Just kidding. I don’t have a cardiologist. I prefer to keep the inner workings of my body a mystical secret, like “clairvoyance” or “the way car engines work.”
I like highbrow steak and cheese sandwiches, with whole slabs of rare ribeye served open-face with compound roquefort butter on thick slices of sourdough made with a 100-year-old starter. So-called “authentic” cheesesteaks, smeared with Cheez Wiz and served by surly guys from neon-soaked buildings where the customers include barely-conscious drunks, and pregnant women smoking. Lowbrow cheesesteaks, like the ones you find served in the grim, second floor dining room of a Korean deli in NYC. High, low, good, or bad, I love and appreciate the cheesesteak in any form.
For this version of the classic, I wanted to dial up each element of the sandwich, to satisfy a red meat craving that I had been nursing for about a week. Using chopped steak tips (cooked with lots of ground black pepper) makes this a substantial meal, and rather than sliced American or provolone cheese, I whipped up a quick cheese sauce using Irish “Dubliner” cheese, which has lots of cheddar flavor and a bit of nuttiness, like you’d find in a parmesan. The resulting sandwich is a beast; the kind of meal that sustains you right through bedtime.
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 pound sirloin steak tips, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 8 ounces Dubliner cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 sandwich rolls, sliced
- Heat vegetable oil in a sauté pan over low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions slowly turn brown and sweet. This process should take about a half an hour.
- Meanwhile, in another pan, combine steak tips, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce over high heat. Cook to desired doneness, a few minutes or more.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly, until flour beings to darken and turn brown. Add milk, stirring constantly, and simmer until mixture thickens, about three minutes. Remove from heat, and add cheese, cayenne, and paprika. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spread each side of each hoagie roll with some of the cheese sauce. Add meat, caramelized onions, and more cheese sauce. Sprinkle with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, if desired, and serve immediately.