(Jan. 8, 2021) Choices are a fact of life and sometimes selections come in the most unusual situations.
For years I have defended the name, “Steak and Cheese,” as my co-workers insist “Cheesesteak” is the proper term.
I have argued my point diligently and cannot understand their persistence of correctness. In order to resolve this issue, one must delve into the history of a Philly cheesesteak.
According to Philadelphia’s official tourism site, Pat Olivieri invented the classic Philly cheesesteak in the 1930s. Olivieri was a hot dog vendor in south Philadelphia who, as the story goes, decided to grill slices of beef with onions and pack it on an Italian roll. A cab driver caught a whiff, and decided to order it.
Word spread rapidly and the steak sandwich was an instant hit.
Olivieri eventually opened up Pat’s King of Steaks on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue. Cheese was added to the mix in the 40s by Pat’s manager, Joe Lorenza, according to Philadelphia Magazine.
A classic Philly cheesesteak consists of thinly sliced sauteed ribeye, sauteed onions, and Cheese Whiz encased in a long, crusty Italian roll.
The recipe is simple, so each ingredient stands out and at the same time compliments each other. Any additions, subtractions, or substitutions, and the famous Pennsylvania title will no longer be deemed authentic.
Steak sandwiches that do not include the classic ingredients are referred to as a cheesesteak, steak and cheese, or steak sandwich.
The art of entertaining is all about the element of surprise. A simple variation of one’s menu can make a memorable occasion.
A cheesesteak meatloaf encrusted with a layer of crispy bacon sounds yummy.
A traditional meatloaf is stuffed with sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms and gooey cheese. A crown of crunchy bacon not only adds flavor and texture, but is the final step for a fabulous presentation.
A few secrets follow to ensure a delicious cheesesteak meatloaf.
An even amount of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal are the best combinations of meat for a juicy, flavorful meatloaf. The beef is the foundation of the dish, the pork gives it flavor and the veal adds tenderness.
You can purchase packs of already prepared meatloaf mixture; however, the ratio will not be divided evenly. In other words, the cheapest meat will be the main ingredient.
Meatloaf needs seasoning, do not skimp on the salt and pepper.
Onions, garlic, celery and green pepper are the standard vegetables that are added to the meat mixture. But if you include them in the cheesesteak filling, you will want to omit them in the actual meat mixture.
Bread crumbs or stale bread is the next consideration. If you decide to use stale bread, you must soak it in milk or the bread will absorb the moisture from the meat.
It is also difficult to distribute the clumps of soggy bread evenly throughout the meat mixture. This is why breadcrumbs are the preferred choice.
Most meatloaf recipes contain an egg protein. The ratio of eggs to meat is 1 egg per 2 pounds of meat. For every egg that is used, whisk in 1 teaspoon of milk to thin out the richness of the egg.
Typically, meatloaf is covered with a tomato or brown sauce. Forgo the sauce because it will interfere with the crispiness of the bacon and take away from the theme of the dish.
Always allow meatloaf to rest after it comes out of the oven. This gives the juices a chance to be redistributed throughout the meat.
Cheesesteak meatloaf can be served on toasted Italian bread or with a side of mashed potatoes. If you like cheesesteaks, meatloaf, and bacon, you must give this recipe a try. Enjoy!
Cheesesteak Meatloaf Encased in a Bacon Crust
1 (12 oz.) package thick sliced bacon
2 pounds meatloaf mixture
1 large egg
1 teaspoon whole milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ stalks celery (leaves included), finely chopped
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large green peppers, seeded, stems removed, and finely sliced
1 ½ yellow onions, finely sliced
2 cups baby portobellos, stems removed and finely sliced
8 ounces of shredded provolone and mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Arrange bacon slices so they are slightly overlapping on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using paper towels, blot any excess grease. Set aside.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
4. In a small bowl, whisk egg, milk and Worcestershire sauce.
5. In another small bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
6. In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, cook green peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil for 7 minutes.
7. In a large bowl, combine meat, garlic, celery and egg mixture. Add bread crumb mixture to the meat, and again mix thoroughly.
8. Place a sheet of tin foil on an 11 x 14-inch sheet pan. Make sure the edges of the foil are snug against the edges of the pan. Remember, this is going to be the mold for the meatloaf.
9. Spread the meat mixture evenly over the entire sheet pan.
10. Top meat mixture with cheese, then add the sauteed veggies over the cheese.
11. Gently lift the tin foil and roll the meat from the smaller end of the rectangle to form a large cylinder shape.
12. Carefully, transfer the bacon strips to another large sheet of tin foil. Do not disrupt the pattern of the bacon.
Carefully lift the meatloaf onto the bacon. The bacon slices should be perpendicular to the length of the meatloaf.
Lift the tin foil and gently roll the meatloaf onto the bacon strips. You may have to tighten the meatloaf as you go.
The seam of the bacon strips should end up on the bottom. Secure the meatloaf in the tin foil and make sure the ends are sealed. Cook for 30 minutes.
13. Remove meatloaf from the oven. Using paper towels, blot any excess grease.
Carefully remove tin foil, and cook for another 45 minutes. Again, make sure the seam side of the bacon is on the bottom.
If the bacon crust is not fully cooked, place under the broiler for a few minutes.
14. Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Secret Ingredient – New Beginnings. “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”
– J.P Morgan