January 24, 2020
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South of Philly Cheesesteak

To a native Philadelphian, a cheesesteak simply can’t be considered authentic if it’s prepared more than an hour from the city. However, I couldn’t resist the challenge posed to me by a fan of Evansville Living’s Facebook page: Create a cheesesteak that looks and tastes like the real deal.

Although Evansville is far from Philly, I tapped a few of my favorite local sources for quality ingredients. I experimented with two different cuts of steak: a tender ribeye from Rivertown Butcher Shop (7766 Fruitwood Lane, Newburgh) and a flank steak from Stonewall Farms (10540 Schissler Road). As tradition dictates, the best cheesesteak is served on an Italian roll. Thank goodness for Vecchio’s Italian Market (14 W. Jennings St., Newburgh).

Philly Cheesesteak Recipe

Ingredients (for two sandwiches):
•  1 pound flank steak or ribeye
•  1 tablespoon minced garlic
•  Kosher salt
•  Fresh cracked black pepper
•  1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
•  1 bell pepper, sliced thin (green is traditional, I prefer red or yellow)
•  1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
•  6-8 slices Provolone cheese
•  2 8-inch Italian loaves
•  Extra virgin olive oil
•  Mayo or mustard (optional)

Freeze the steak in advance. This is the most important step, as it allows the steak to be sliced paper thin and stay tender when fully cooked.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté the bell pepper slices, garlic, and olive oil in a hot skillet for approximately 2 minutes. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the thinly sliced steak and cook until steak is fully browned, approximately 3-5 minutes. While cooking the vegetables and steak, toast bread in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Place half of the veggie/steak mixture on each toasted loaf and cover with Provolone cheese. Place sandwiches in the oven to finish. Once the cheese is melted, they’re ready to eat.

(Variations: Many Philadelphians swear by Cheez Whiz, but I prefer the less-processed Provolone. For a pizza steak, add 1 ounce of your favorite pizza sauce before topping with cheese.)

— Eli Haddix of Evansville has worked in the restaurant business for 12 years.


Philly Cheesesteak

Your cheesesteak is not even close to a Philly cheesesteak! It does not have mushrooms and the steak is not sliced but chopped as it is cooked. The peppers and onions are not sliced but chopped also. The bun is never toasted and it is not put in the oven after it is made. Oh how I miss my PA home!

Not Philly Cheesesteak

You may have a recipe for a tasty sandwich, but it is NOT a Philly Cheesesteak. I grew up there. You are correct that you can't get a real one more than an hour from Philly. Period. No mushrooms. Only green peppers. No mayo. No mustard. Ketchup is OK, but not needed. Not just an Italian roll - an Amoroso roll. NEVER EVER toasted! Sheesh! Everyone in Philly understands these things. Calling this a Philly Cheesesteak is like passing a Volkswagen off as a Rolls. And it does not look like the real deal. It just looks like a sandwich. The first thing I do when I go home is to get a real Philly Cheesesteak - before visiting, before checking in, before family. The real thing is that good.

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