Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Truest expression of the American dream

"The Philly cheese steak, a combination of cheap industrial
cheese, cheap industrial steak, onions and a roll that
strains to contain it, like the casing on a cholesterol torpedo,
could be the truest expression of the American dream
of easy plenty for all."

Tim Hayward

You’d have to live in a cave not to know what a Philly Cheesesteak is even if you’ve never had one.  If you happen to be a caveman (or girl) . . . authentic cheesesteaks are cooked on a grill with fresh beef that is chopped as it cooks.   Then it is smothered with American cheese, provolone or Cheese-Whiz and rest in a roll dripping with grease then topped with grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms . . . droooooooooooool!

And then there is the cheesesteak war . . . a battle over who has the best sandwich.  The rivalry is between Pat’s and Geno’s - both restaurants are located on Passyunk Avenue near Ninth Street are in the heart of South Philly.  The debate over whose steaks are the best is waged nightly.

Pat's King of Steaks was the first to make a Philly steak sandwich.  Pat Olivieri started out as a hotdog stand in 1930.  On one fateful day he got the notion to try something new and sent off to the butcher for some chopped up beef.    He threw the meat on the his grill, slapped it onto Italian bread with some onions.  A regular luchtime customer tried one and the rest is history.  In time, cheese was added and the Philly Cheesesteak was born. 

Geno's Steaks open just across the way in 1966.  Joe Vento started his business with only two boxes of steaks and some hot dogs.   Since there was already a Joe’s Steak Place he had to come up with another name for his restaurant.  He found a broeken door behind his store with GINO scrawled on it.  He like the sound of it, changed the “I” to an “E” and he had a name.  Since that time, Geno's claims to have the best of cheese steaks!

Pat’s has the legacy and Geno’s has the glitz but both have lines out the door and around the corner waiting to nosh those fabulous noms.

So, the big question in Philly is “Do you like Pat’s or Geno’s better?”


Cher’s Philly Cheese Steak Soup

This soup is OMG good!

  • 3/4 Lb Cooked Beef, Diced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • 2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Green Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Small White Onion, Diced
  • 8 Oz Mushrooms, Diced
  • 1 Medium Potatoes Diced
  • 6 Cups Milk
  • 1 (10 1/2 Ounce) Can Beef Broth
  • 8 Ounces Provolone Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

I know you're wondering why I put potatoes in my Philly Cheese Steak Soup . . . because a cheese steak sandwich isn't complete without a side of potato chips . .. DUH!

Brown beef in olive oil, set aside.  Reserve the drippings.

Melt butter in large, heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add green peppers, onion, and potatoes and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).

Add flour and cook another 5 minutes stirring often. This is an important step to cook out the flour taste.  Slowly stir in milk and bring to a simmer stirring often until soup thickens.

Reduce heat to medium low and stir in broth and browned meat with the drippings, salt and pepper.

Slowly stir in provolone until all is melted and incorporated into soup.

Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread.

I made a double batch of this soup to freeze.  I package them in individual containers to send with my hunny for his lunch.

To freeze: Prepare soup as directed and allow to cool. Place in rigid freezer container. Seal, label and freeze.  
To serve: Thaw in fridge. Reheat in microwave or on stovetop,stirring to recombine the soup.

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