How to make the best Philly Steak Sandwich at home

Lilly Higgins: Served with a big green salad or some steamed broccoli spears, and dinner is ready in 15 minutes

 

I’m always looking for alternatives to the basic meat and two vegetable dinners. I try to balance each meal with carbohydrates, protein, fat and plenty of vegetables. I usually make a main dish and supplement it with a green salad or fill in the gaps with something more nutritious after dinner like fruit, nuts or yogurt.

Surprisingly these Philly Steak Sandwiches tick so many boxes. There’s protein, carbs and fat there at a glance. Served with a big green salad or some steamed broccoli spears, and dinner is ready in 15 minutes. They’re very quick and easy to cook, they taste delicious and have just the right amount of novelty factor that there won’t be too many protests about the onions and green pepper.

Despite my own dislike of green pepper I have to include it here in the Philly Steak Sandwich. It is of course a traditional key ingredient. Along with onions, mushrooms and Provolone cheese. It can be quite hard to pick up the Italian cheese Provolone unless you have access to a good cheesemonger.

Some recipes suggest you can substitute mozzarella but I feel it’s too wet or a mild cheddar. The smoked scamorzza produced by Toonsbridge in Macroom would be amazing on these and lend its own smoky straw flavour that would be delicious.

I’ve opted for Emmental as it’s more easily available and quite similar to Provolone in that it melts well and is mild. I’ve used wholemeal baguette-style rolls here but traditionally the sweet soft hotdog roll is preferable.

You can skip the grilling step mentioned below if you assemble the rolls then layer on the cheese, wrap each sandwich tightly in foil, leave to warm in the oven for 10 minutes before serving so that the cheese has time to melt and combine with the onion mixture.

This is very much a meat lovers’ dinner but I’ve made fried halloumi versions of this and, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce and those caramelised onions, you honestly wouldn’t miss the meat. Do note that the Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies for any vegetarians at the table.

Philly Steak Sandwich

Serves six
Ingredients

  • 500g sirloin steak
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeds removed and sliced
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 350g mushrooms, sliced
  • 180g Emmental or Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 baguette style bread rolls or hot dog rolls
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  • Season the steaks with sea salt and black pepper. Rub with a little olive oil.
  • Heat a wide frying pan on high. Cook the steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. You need them to be medium rare and nicely coloured on the outside. Set aside on a plate to rest, covered with foil. Add a splash of oil to the pan along with the onions, sauté for a few minutes before adding the peppers. Cook till the onions are nicely softened and the pepper still retains a little bite. Season with a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Place the onion mixture into a roasting tin. Fry the mushrooms in the hot pan till they’re nicely coloured. Add them to the onion mix.
  • Preheat the grill to high. Warm the bread rolls slightly in the oven. Thinly slice the steak and combine it with the onion and mushrooms. Layer the cheese slices over the top. Place the roasting tin under the hot grill and cook for five to ten minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Quickly scoop the mix into the warm bread rolls and serve with a little more Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup and mustard on the side.
     
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