Homegrown Philly Cheesesteak with Farm Stand Sweet & Hot Peppers

I developed this recipe for Philly Homegrown’s Cheesesteak Give-away tomorrow, August 25th at the Mayor’s LOVE Park Farmers’ Market beginning at 11 AM.

What could be more homegrown in Philadelphia than a Philly Cheesesteak? What about a Philly cheesesteak in which all the ingredients come from farms within 100 miles of the City of Brotherly Love on an Italian roll from Sarcone’s? Best yet, with this recipe you can enjoy your Homegrown Cheesesteak…at home.

The Philly Homegrown Cheesesteak Give-away is part of Philly Homegrown, a consumer education and tourism marketing program launched this summer to introduce the people, places and flavors of the area’s foodshed—from Amish Country to the Atlantic Ocean and from the region’s rivers to the rich farmlands in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. I’ll be there with my Frog Commissary crew. We will give-away 1000 mini-Homegrown Cheesesteaks.

To learn more about Philly Homegrown and the event, go to food.visitphilly.com

Philly Homegrown Cheesesteaks will also be available at Ben’s Bistro at The Franklin Institute from Thursday, August 26th through Sunday, August 29th. Ben’s Bistro is open to the public without admission.

Philly Homegrown Cheesesteak with Farm Stand Sweet & Hot Peppers

Do ahead Onions and peppers may be cooked up to two days ahead. Reheat before serving. Bread should be bought the day you are using it.

8 ounces assorted farm stand sweet and hot peppers, stems and seeds removed
2 cups large dice sweet Pennsylvania onion
6 ounces mild, semi-soft cheese such as Pennsylvania Colby, grated
1 1/2 pounds grass-fed Pennsylvania rib eye steak* or chip steak
1 Sarcone’s large Italian bread loaf or similar 22-24″ loaf, ends trimmed and cut into 1/3’s or 1/4’s**
3 ounces oil
4 ounces water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
* If using rib eye steak, place in freezer for 2-3 hours until partially frozen. With sharp knife, shave thin slices.
** You may substitute 4 standard 6-inch steak rolls

1. Split each piece of bread in half lengthwise, but keep two halves connected. Pull out a little of spongy part of bread creating a cavity.
2. Cut peppers into long, thin strips.
3. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over low-moderate heat. Add peppers. Saute until peppers start to soften. Add 2 ounces water and steam peppers until water evaporates. Repeat with 2 ounces additional water. You want to fully soften peppers without browning them. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In same pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over moderate heat. Add onions and cook until translucent without browning. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In same pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and heat. Add beef. Using a flat spatula, toss and chop apart beef as it cooks. When beef is fully cooked, add onions, salt and pepper and mix into beef. Add cheese on top of beef and melt. Place open rolls on top to lightly heat and refresh. Using tongs or slotted spoon, scrape meat onto rolls taking care to leave behind any liquid in pan.
6. Top with peppers and serve hot.

Serves 4

You will need a mix of farm stand sweet and hot peppers, onion, meat, cheese, bread and oil. From mid-summer on, farm stands are bursting with all manner of sweet and hot peppers. Depending on your preference, you should have about four times times sweet peppers to hot. Here are long hots and banana peppers along with red and green bell peppers. These hot peppers are hot, but not searingly so.

Cut tops from peppers and split in half. Be careful handling the interiors of hot peppers — seeds and membrane — as the volatile acids that provide the pepper’s heat can come off on to your fingers. Either wear gloves, put a piece of plastic wrap between the pepper’s interior and your fingers or just take care not to touch any soft membranes like your lips, nose or eyes until you thoroughly wash your hands after handling the peppers. Your fingers themselves will not be troubled. Soap, water and time will “cure” any pepper burning. It’s not dangerous, just uncomfortable.

Using your fingers and a sharp paring knife, remove seeds and cut away white membrane of peppers. Discard seeds and membranes. Cut peppers into long thin strips.

The cheese should be mild and semi-soft — suitable for grating. I used an organic Meadow Run Colby. Grate cheese using a box grater or something similar. In a “worst case,” just slice cheese thinly.

You can use chip steak. However, here I used a piece of  rib-eye steak. Premium cheesesteaks start with a rib-eye steak, typically sliced on a commercial slicer — something unlikely to be included among your home kitchen equipment. But you can still use a whole piece of rib-eye. Place the beef in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours so that it is partially frozen, but not rock hard.

With a sharp knife, cut slices as thin as you can. Your goal is to “shave” the beef so that you have “paper-thin” slices. Your slices will not be paper-thin, but do the best you can.

I used a long Italian loaf from South Philly’s Sarcone’s Bakery on 9th Street between Catherine & Fitzwater. DiBruno’s also carries Sarcone’s bread.  You can certainly use individual steak rolls.

If using a long loaf, begin by trimming away the rounded ends. Regardless of what sort of roll you are using, pull out and remove some of the doughy bread. This just makes for a less doughy and more enjoyable sandwich. You can cut your long loaf into three or four smaller pieces. Later I will recommend cutting sandwiches into 2″ wide pieces for easier handling so three or four pieces is not critical.

Also, chop your onion into pieces about half to quarter-inch in size. Here’s a video on How to Chop and Onion.

Now you’re ready to cook your Homegrown Philly Cheesesteak with Farm Stand Sweet & Hot Peppers.

Assemble your ingredients next to your stove.

Begin by sauteing your onions in a large saute pan in oil — I used olive oil. You should only need about 1 tablespoon oil.

Cook until onions are soft and translucent but not browned. This should take six to eight minutes. If onions begin to brown, reduce heat and/or add a touch of water. The water will stop the browning and help the onions soften. You will want to evaporate the water. Remove cooked onions and set aside.

Next, in the same pan, cook peppers over low-moderate heat in a tablespoon of oil. Peppers will take longer to cook than onions – about 15-20 minutes. . You want them to be very soft, but not browned or falling apart.

Again, adding a few ounces of water, once the peppers start to soften, is helpful to softening the peppers. Here I added 2 ounces of water two times, each time allowing the water to fully evaporate. You want sautéed peppers and not boiled peppers. Lightly salt peppers, remove from pan and set aside. The peppers should be warm, but they are a topping and do not have to be hot.

If you do not have a large saute pan, cook the steak in two batches. Hold your first batch in a 200 degree oven while cooking second batch. I used a 13″ pan. Begin by adding 2 tablespoons oil to pan over high heat. Allow oil to get very hot — nearly smoking. Carefully add shaved beef. Allow bottom to brown.

With a broad, flat spatula, turn beef and using “blade” of spatula, chop and cut up beef into small pieces.

When beef is fully browned, add cooked onions and mix in well. Cheesesteak places cook their meat on a flat griddle that allows the rendered liquid to flow away. When cooking in a pan, the liquid will evaporate somewhat, but you will still have some liquid to contend with.

Add cheese on top and allow to melt. Season with salt and pepper.

While cheese is melting, place bread lightly on top to enable steam from cooking beef to re-fresh bread. I cut the long loaf into three very generous sandwiches, but you can easily cut it into four.

Using slotted spoon or spring tongs, transfer beef, onion, cheese mix into rolls. Take care in doing this as it’s very hot. Top with farm stand sweet and hot peppers. In serving, I recommend cutting sandwiches into more manageable smaller pieces — two inches or so in length.

For lots of recipes and to view visits to area farm stands or Philadelphia Neighborhood Farmers’ Markets, go to athomebysteveposes.wordpress.com.

For more information about Philly Homegrown, visit food.visitphilly.com.

To learn more about local farmers’ markets, visit The Food Trust and Farm to City. Year ’round you can purchase local food products at Fair Food Farmstand at the Reading Terminal Market.


Filed under Recipes

43 responses to “Homegrown Philly Cheesesteak with Farm Stand Sweet & Hot Peppers

  1. This makes me wish I lived in Philly!


  2. Yum! I love the Philly cheesesteak. It was one of my favorite in addition to the giant pretzels. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Your cheesesteak looks great. I’ll have to try it. 🙂

  3. I’m so hungry right now. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Walla, walla, woo! I love me some philly cheesesteak – you have my mouth watering! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. You have put a lot into the preparation and I can only imagine the end result – the scrumptious taste! I will definitely give it a try! Wish me luck!

    P.S. Keep doing your thi-i-ing – you are awesome!

  5. This Philly girl will definitely give this recipe a try.

  6. Man oh man! Now I’m hungry and I just ate! Thanks for the pictorial feast. Have to try my own sometime soon.

  7. Congratulations on “Freshly Pressed” ! A wonderful looking recipe in great detail…I’m going to try this recipe for sure…it looks soooo good!

  8. sayitinasong

    Ok…seriously.. that made me drool…

  9. While I was expecting my son, all I wanted to eat were Philly Cheesesteaks! I still love them and can’t wait to try making them at home with peppers from my own garden 🙂 Thanks for showing us!

  10. Jonathan Garrison

    Great looking recipe! It fits perfectly with my all-natural and organic eating lifestyle and helps support local farmers, what a great idea! My only concern I guess would be the white bun, would an all natural wheat bun work as well?

    – Jonathan

    • athomebysteveposes

      Hey Jonathan —
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Show’s how you can thoughtfully re-shape something like a cheesesteak — not what you would associate with natural and organic. Regarding the bread, feel free to substitute whole grain, but I would try to keep it pretty neutral so as not to fight the other flavors. I hope you check-out my blog that currently is focused on farm stands and farmers’ markets. S.

  11. Pingback: Cooking in the Raw: Homegrown Philly Cheesesteak with Farm Stand Sweet & Hot Peppers « The Secret TreeHugger

  12. BarryG

    Colby cheese?
    Sauteed peppers?
    Cooking in a skillet?

    That ain’t a cheesesteak bro.

    • athomebysteveposes

      Barry, to each his own. The recipe is designed for “at home” and most folks just don’t have a skillet. If you love cheesesteaks, you would love this one. In fact, let me know when you come to Philly and I’d be happy to make you one!

  13. bluesnake2009

    Cannot wait to eat them

  14. I was searching for a good Philly cheesesteak recipe to make at home. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to try! LB

  15. Looks fabulous! I must try it on my two itty bitty foodies @ home.

    Cheryl Collett

  16. ohhh my!! now am hungry…

  17. Looks delicious!
    Maybe cook the meat less though?
    Why have well done meat when you can have it medium rare..
    Perhaps you could add the cheese to the onions and peppers, quickly sear the meat, and then incorporate the two off the heat.
    Just a thought.

    • athomebysteveposes

      That’s certainly an alternative approach. This was a “homegrown” take on a Philly classic. I am making 1000 samples Wednesday and will try your approach.

  18. Renee

    This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to make this though I think I’ll be using provolone cheese. Guess, we’ll be having this for dinner tomorrow! 🙂
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  19. Great looking cheesesteak Steve! I have used a similar method for years.


  20. Looks Scrumptious ! One of the benefits in living in Philly I guess is having the luxury of growing things in your backyard.

  21. Great recipe for a delicious cheesesteak!! Very detailed and easy to follow blog for inexperienced cooks.

    I especially love all of the local ingredients and that you used grass-fed beef.

  22. Pingback: Reminder: Free Locally Sourced Cheesesteaks at Love Park Starting at 11 a.m. | philly.rssible.com

  23. Pingback: Philly Cheesesteak Melt « Cooking with Aurora

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