Football Foodie Contest - Week Two

Saturday, 21 July, 2018
Football Foodie

Welcome to our recap of Week Two of our Football Foodie Contest!

I still have mixed feeling about the previous Sunday’s (10/22) results. Justin’s Steelers won convincingly, but our Giants and Panthers were wupped. Both teams don’t appear to have reliable offences. I hope both teams fare better today.

The Panthers were beaten by the Bears, who happened to be one of the teams chosen for this week’s food explorations. One of our providers, Carinne Woodworth, is a Chicago native, Bear fanatic and a trove of knowledge about Chicago foods.

Last year, Chicago was one of the first cities Justin and I chose for our inaugural football food fest. Naturally, we went to Carinne. She told us about Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches, and recommended a Chicago restaurant name Portello’s. Wonder of wonder, they actually ship the sandwich makings anywhere in the US; so I ordered. It came as promised, ready to warm and eat. We devoured them, and had enough extra to give Carinne.Beef sandwich Football Foodie

When we drew the Bears for this week’s food city, I was anxious and hopeful that one of you readers would come through and suggest it – you did! You’ll find the recipe below, but since I’ve had it before, I can tell you it’s delicious and you should give it a try.

Here’s a bit of history of the dish from Amazing Ribs:

Created on the ‘Sout Side’ of Chicago (no "h" used in South), in the Italian enclaves around the now defunct Stockyards, the classic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich (pronounced sangwitch) is a unique, drippy, messy variation on the French Dip. It is available in hundreds of joints around the city, and rarely found beyond its environs.

The exact origin is unknown, but the sandwich was probably created by Italian immigrants. During the early 1900s, as they rose from poverty and ground meat into the middle class, they were able to afford beef for roasting.

Nobody knows for sure the inventor, but the recipe was popularized by Pasquale Scala, a South Side butcher and sausage maker. During the Depression, in the late 1920s, when food was scarce, Scala's thinly sliced roast beef on a bun with gravy and fried peppers took off. Today, beef ‘sangwitches’ are a staple at Italian weddings, funerals, parties, political fundraisers, and lunches "wit my boyz".

I was raised around The City (you never say New York City), so I was also looking forward to what you guys would suggest. The traditions of Jewish and Italian delis are well established, and well as the food from almost every culture that passed through The City. I have a love for the Jewish deli food, so I was thrilled to see Smoked Salmon Crostini. I don’t know of any real Jewish Delis in the Triangle, so this is a double treat for me (if any of you guys know of one, please share it). Fortunately, pretty good lox (smoked salmon) are available at Fresh Market as well as at Manhattan Bagel so that won’t be a problem. If you are deli aficionados, you know the difference between Lox, Gravlax and Nova. Here’s the info from “Cooking Light”.

Lox types Football Foodie

Lox, gravlax, and nova are all made from salmon and involve some kind of cure. Where they differ is in the kind of seasoning and if they are cold smoked or not. Cold smoking uses wood smoke to add flavor, just at a very low temperature (around 80°). Since the temp is too low to actually cook the fish, it is cured first.

A deli staple, lox is traditionally unsmoked and made from the salmon’s fatty belly, making for the silkiest slices. It’s best to buy this kind of lox right at the source—any mass produced lox will usually involve some kind of cold smoke and come from any part of the fish.

Gravlax, the Scandinavian-style cured salmon is also unsmoked. The seasoning is a bit more aggressive, with fresh dill, sugar, citrus, whole spices, and a floral alcohol like aquavit or gin. Gravlax is actually incredibly easy to make at home (no smoke house or special equipment required), and a visual stunner, especially when fresh beets are added to the cure.

Nova, the name for this salmon comes from its origin, in Nova Scotia, Canada, where salmon is cured and then cold smoked. The color is a much deeper pink, almost a burnt orange, compared to other cured salmon. The fish flavor is also a bit more intense than lox or gravlax.

My preference is good old Lox, so that’s what I’ll be using.

Here are the recipes we’ll be using this week:

Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich from Genius Kitchen
(Recommended by Lisa M., winner of Football Foodie Week 2)


  • 10 lbs. beef boneless round roast (sometimes called Inside Round)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • dried basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • water
  • au jus sauce, gravy mixes if needed


Day 1

  1. Roll whole beef round on all sides in Worcestershire sauce until it's brown. Roll in garlic powder until it's white. Roll in basil until it's green. Sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes.
  2. Put in baking pan without rack and bake in oven at 250 dg. for 20 minutes per lb. (Roast will be extremely rare, but don't worry because it will be tender and juicy after recipe is completed) Do not remove roast from pan or drain off drippings. Wrap it all in foil and chill in refrigerator overnight to firm up for easy slicing and to meld seasonings.


  1. Remove from pan and save all drippings including any browned bits from baking pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Slice chilled roast as close to paper thin as possible. Put beef slices (saving any juice that dripped off) in plastic bags and chill until ready to assemble.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of water per lb. of beef in saucepan, adding drippings that had been saved earlier. Stir over low heat to make an au jus. If more flavor is needed, add more of the above spices and beef bouillon cubes until flavor seems right. The last few years I've used au jus gravy envelope(s) to speed things up or to stretch out more sauce, adjusting seasonings above to keep the "Italian" flavor If wanted, at this point you can add a bit of garlic powder, oregano, or pepper to taste.
  4. Bring au jus mixture to a boil.


  1. Immediately pour boiling au jus to cover beef slices in a roaster, electric frypan, or large crockpot that will keep sandwiches warm but not hot. DO NOT heat up beef first! The boiling jus will warm up the beef and finish the cooking process. If beef is actually cooked in sauce it will get tough.
  2. Serve immediately by having guests prepare their own sandwiches on small French sandwich loaves or hoagie buns. If Gonella- brand rolls are available.
  3. Serve with green pepper slices that have been sautéed to soften as well as with yellow pepperoncini peppers for those who want more of a kick! You can also add mozzarella cheese. Wrap the sandwiches in foil and heat in oven until the cheese is melted, then pour a drizzle of warm marinara sauce on filling and add a few sautéed green pepper slices (or pepperoncini peppers.

[recipe courtesy]


Smoked Salmon Crostini

(Recommended by Julia W., winner of Football Foodie Week 2)


  • 1 thin baguette
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 oz smoked salmon
  • Capers or fresh dill for garnish
  • You will also need: Food processor, baking sheet


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the baguette along a diagonal into 1/4 inch slices using a serrated knife. Do not slice them thicker than 1/4 inch, or they will be difficult to bite through when toasted.
  2. Place the slices on a cookie sheet. Stir together the melted butter and olive oil. If using unsalted butter, add a small pinch of salt to the mixture and stir to combine. If using salted butter, no need to add any additional salt. Brush the tops of the bread pieces with the oil and butter mixture.
  3. Place the bread into the oven and let it toast for 8-10 minutes till the bottoms of the bread slices are golden brown and toasted. Flip the slices to check for doneness-- they will brown more on the bottom than they will on the top.
  4. While baguette slices are toasting, place 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, cream cheese, dill, and lemon juice into a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the processor periodically, till ingredients are well combined. Continue to add Greek yogurt till the mixture is soft and spreadable, but not overly liquid. I usually add about 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt, but the consistencies vary from yogurt brand to yogurt brand, so best to add slowly till the texture is right. Add salt to taste and process again to combine.
  5. Cut the smoked salmon into pieces large enough to top the baguette slices.
  6. When the baguette slices have cooled, top each slice with 1 tsp of the Greek yogurt mixture. Top the Greek yogurt mixture with a slice of smoked salmon. Place another small dollop of Greek yogurt mixture in the center of the smoked salmon slice. Top the small dollop with a couple of capers... or a small sprig of dill. Serve Smoked Salmon Crostini as a bite-sized appetizer.