Chicago, the Great Depression and Italian Beef

So, hey…

It’s been a few weeks… it’s been a few rough weeks, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the upswing… so here I am, carefully making my way back into the world.  I’ve been pretty depressed since our ParmaQay passed away.

Depression for me looks like this:

  1. Hide
  2. Think I’m ok and handling things
  3. Discover I’m not handling things and have irrational breakdowns over little things that mean nothing. This is a great time to buy stock in Kleenex
  4. Hide
  5. Apathy
  6. Irrational Rage
  7. Hide
  8. Peek back into the world a bit at at time, usually with things that require a “fuck it why the hell not” attitude
  9. Slowly rediscover balance

I’m currently on number eight which is pretty good and I might pop back to apathy for a while and irrational rage may show up again.. but hey… one day at a time.

Step number eight can be interesting… sometimes I do things like bleach out major chunks of my hair..  and contemplate going back to boxing..

You know what else happens? I want to start cooking again.

LB has been asking me to make Italian Beef for… years. YEARS.. now, I’m not Italian..not one bit and I know that Italian Beef is one of those feel good things for her because her mom used to make it when she was a kid. LB was born into an Italian family… in Chicago, the HOME of Italian Beef. LB’s grandmother used to assist a certain gentleman in his import and export business. You may have heard of him? Al Capone? Yeah. This little Irish gal had never even heard of Italian Beef. I was like.. it’s um.. beef? I don’t get it.

A little research and although the origins are disputed, it appears that Italian Beef originates from the Union Stock Yards in the 1930’s which would totally make sense since it’s made from the tougher “cheap” cuts of meat and that would have been right around the time of the Great Depression.

I did a little research on the interwebs after picking LB’s brain about what her Mom did when she made it and I came up with something that was sort of a riff on a Lidia Bastianich recipe. Since I had a 3lb bottom round roast from Tilldale Farm, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I knew I needed wine for this recipe so I ran over to my local liquor store. I usually go with The Goat for cooking but I felt like something a little different so I gave Fireworks Red from Adirondack Winery a shot.

It was pretty fucking delicious.

Anyway, pics in a pretty gallery below followed by my take on Italian beef.

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Italian Beef
  • 3 -4 lbs of bottom round roast
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • ½ cup water
  • Onion and pepper slices sauteed for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Combine the thyme, oregano and salt and rub into the meat.
  3. Put the meat in a roasting pan on a rack.
  4. Slice the onion and smash and peel the garlic and toss into the roasting pan
  5. Pour the wine and water into the bottom of the pan
  6. Cover and roast in the over for 4-5 hours. About ½ way through, I flipped the beef and took the rack out of the pan so the beef sat in the pan juices.
  7. Remove from the oven and slice the beef against the grain.
  8. Dunk the meat slices back the pan juice for serving
You can keep the beef slices warm in the pan juices in the oven until you are ready to eat. Make sure you soak your bread with the pan juices. Dunk that sucker.

About Pirate Jeni

Kitchen Witch, Eclectic Spiritualist, Psychic-Medium, Reiki Master, Conscientious Omnivore, Tarot Card Slinger, Singer of Songs, Player of Things with Four Strings.

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  1. Pingback: Is this the real life…. ?

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