I live in Reading, PA. That is about 2 hours outside of Philadelphia. Although it is quite a hike to Philly, the locals here very much associate themselves as part of Philadelphia. There’s a lot of Phillies and Eagles pride here as well as cheese steak pride. I’ve had a cheese steak from a local eatery here in Reading as well as a cheese steak from Philly herself.
I gotta say, Philly, I’m not in love.
Philly cheesesteaks ARE good. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing like some shaved steak smothered in grilled onions and cheese, but I’ve gotta say I’ve had better.
Oh, and Cheez Whiz must be something you had to grow up eating on your cheese steak to like. It’s far too salty for me. But don’t think I’m bashing the cheese steak. I like being in an area where culinary pride comes from a humble and tasty sandwich.
But the cheese steak (as I am led to believe) has Italian origins. Well, let an Irish girl who grew up in an Italian town in West Virginia put her two cents in the well.
I grew up eating Steak Hoagies. In Clarksburg WV, home of one of the better Italian Heritage Festivals you’re likely to encounter and the best fresh made Italian bread, we eat Steak Hoagies.
A Steak Hoagie is 18 inches long, has shaved steak, onions and cheese as well as Italian style peppers we all know simply as Oliverio Peppers. It’s a lot like a cheese steak.
My Recipe (but used and loved all over Clarksburg, WV)
Shaved beef steak (most grocery butchers have this, or you could use frozen steak umms, either will work)
Hoagie Buns (Here in PA, they only come in 12 inches. In Clarksburg, get yourself an 18 incher!)
1 large onion, sliced
1 Tblsp. oil
salt and pepper
1 16-oz. jar Oliverio Peppers (You can get any jarred Italian style peppers, but Oliverio’s has a website!)
1/2 lb. Provolone cheese (yes, it has to be Provolone!)
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Add onions and cook until soft and starting to brown.
Next add the shaved steak. I used about 5 lbs. and this will make 4 12-inch sandwiches. Cook in the hot pan and add salt and pepper to taste.
Now, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Stuff the buns with the meat mixture and place on the prepared sheet pan. Place cheese over the sandwiches.
Another great thing about these is that it is a super fast meal to make. 15-20 minutes and you have dinner on the table. You can serve it with french fries (drizzle Cheez Whiz on THOSE! Now that’s good!) or just eat the sandwiches alone. Either way, you will waddle away from the table feeling very satisfied.