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Chicago-Style Venison Sandwich

Chicago-Style Venison Sandwich

The Chicago-style beef sandwich could be a religious order. It has such a devoted following, and everyone has their take on the perfect way to make it. There are rivalries and loyalties over this sandwich throughout Chicago, and they run deep. The following recipe is very much my own version. It is not from the religious order of Chicago-style beef eating folk, but rather reinvented for those of us who have venison either in our freezers or in our futures this fall.

What is great about this recipe is that it is a delicious way to use up those larger, less tender cuts of meat. And it uses one of my favorite cooking techniques, braising, which allows you to leave the ingredients in a pot and walk away for several hours. The results taste as though you’ve been working away in the kitchen for hours.

Crusty rolls, a hot giardiniera, a sweet pepper mix and a good pan juice are what elevate this sandwich above others and draw such loyal followers. It’s a crowd pleaser and a great dish to serve buffet style, letting everyone assemble their own. Make this for someone the next time you have a venison roast in your midst. They’ll never forget it.

3 pounds venison top sirloin, top round or bottom round
6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6 cups water
4 cubes of beef bouillon
6 to 8 rolls
1 cup sweet peppers
½ cup hot giardiniera or mufaletta mix

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make small, deep incisions all over the top sirloin and insert the garlic clove halves evenly.

2. Combine the spices with the salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix. Rub the mixture into the venison, covering all surfaces well.

3. Set the top sirloin in a roasting pan, place on the middle rack in the oven and dry roast for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on the stovetop, combine the water with the beef bouillon until fully dissolved. Turn off the heat.

5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the pan to deglaze. Add the bouillon liquid and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

6. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F, cover the meat with aluminum foil, and return it to the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the meat is tender. The time will vary depending on the cut of the meat, so cut a slice and taste it if necessary. If it tastes too tough, it needs more time.

7. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice the venison thinly, and lay the cut meat in the pan of liquid.

8. To assemble the sandwiches, pile the meat onto soft rolls. Top each sandwich with sweet peppers, hot giadinera and a spoonful of juice from the roasting pan. Now it’s ready to serve!

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