We got some new toys for Christmas that we did not ask for but were very glad to receive – an electric pressure cooker and a deli slicer! This is the first of many possibilities that these new pieces will lead to. They both debuted on this dish which is mostly inspired by Travel channel type shows about Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches like Al’s. I have never been to Chicago but would love to visit and seeking out one of these sandwiches would be one of my first stops. These toys made this a really quick and easy dish because we had the right tools!
I have wanted a deli slicer for a while and always thought that it was just too excessive. It would have been amazingly useful for past dishes like Grilled Pit Beef, Slow Smoked Brisket, or Corned Beef. I kept the boxes for these because we have so many kitchen gadgets that we will be keeping them in the boxes in the basement when not being used! We also may need to issue a thankful stop order on anyone getting us any more kitchen gifts. Anyway, we are very appreciative of these and excited for their many uses. Starting with the deli slicer, the first item to break it in onions for the beef sandwiches.
Even looking back at these quickly and consistently sliced onions gets me excited! The thickness gauge goes from 0-20 and as you can see I sliced the onions on the 2 setting. It was just fun slicing them too. I then moved onto the meat which I have learned is best to be sliced when still about 75% frozen. These two tools will really open up opportunities on all fronts, but this dish made me realize the many options to transform a cheaper cut of meat like a chuck roast or bottom round into delicious meals without cooking them all day.
That was also a blast! As you can see, the meat here is pretty defrosted and soft which made it more difficult to slice. All of this took a half an hour or so which will speed up in the future once I have figured out these new pieces. Lastly to chop the fresh oregano. For this I used the boring, old fashioned, error prone, always needs to be cleaned and generally unreliable hand.
Now onto the pressure cooker and getting everything going. The pressure cooker has the settings low pressure, high pressure, browning, saute, simmer, and keep warm. I set it to saute and started some oil.
I gave it a few minutes and sauteed the onions and oregano, but unfortunately didn’t take a picture but you can imagine. Once they were ready, I added the sliced beef with some basic seasonings of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. I am not going to write up an official recipe for this because it was pretty basic and sort of freestyled. I also added some beef broth. There will be many future posts featuring these tools and the endless possibilities.
As mentioned, I basically have no experience with pressure cookers and learned a lot during this first use and by reading the booklet. I put the lid on and turned it to lock and set the cooker to low pressure. I then set the timer to 30 minutes and pressed the magical start button. The pressure cooker heats up to temperature/pressure then starts the countdown. There is also a floating red plastic ball gauge to tell you when it is pressurized which was after it billowed out some major steam! Be careful of that steam, it’s…..steam! Once the timer expires, the cooker automatically switches to the keep warm setting and you can use the quick release method, natural release method, or a combination of both. I used the natural release method which takes about 15 minutes as the pressure is slowly reduced while the unit cools until it is safe to open. Once the red plastic ball falls, it is depressurized and cool enough to open and find this I could not believe how tender the meat was after just a half an hour of cooking! The thin slicing helped, but it was still remarkable. We piled some meat on buns with horseradish sauce and a slice of fresh provolone. I made a cup of the jus on the side for dipping which was more of a mess than anything and not really needed.
We are really excited about both of these new kitchen tools! I promise there will be many more posts coming featuring the slicer and pressure cooker together and venturing out on their own and making new friends!
My Mom & Dad ran an Italian Deli/meat market in Chicago from the late 1940s to late ’60s. We have the commercial grade Hobart slicer that made the very best Italian beef! Mom also used a pressure cooker for the rump roasts, but always cooked the first, then cooled to firm up, and finally sliced paper thin to place in the beef “gravy” that was prepared from the meat juices and more spices.
Slicing beef uncooked is NOT recommended nor the authentic Chicago style beef! Good luck trying this again with the original recipe ala Florenza!