Celebrate baseball’s opening day with this slow cooker beef sandwich

Starting today, the return of baseball season is (finally!) upon us and Daina Falk has just the recipe to celebrate.

Daina Falk’s new book “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking & Watching Sports” has a recipe for hot Italian beef au jus sandwiches that were inspired by a sandwich she had at Fenway Park. Contributed by Greg Dupree

Falk is the baseball-loving author of “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking & Watching Sports,” which includes all kinds of dishes that you can serve while watching a game. This sandwich isn’t your typical stadium fare, but it was served during the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park.

Falk re-created the dish in a quantity that will serve a party or leave leftovers for the week to come, and it calls for cooking the meat in a slow cooker, which means less time in the kitchen and more time watching the game.

Hot Italian Beef au Jus Sandwiches

I’m often inspired by the concession food I eat at the many ballparks and arenas I visit over the course of each year. This sandwich was inspired by one served at Fenway’s Yawkey Way during the 2013 World Series. The Red Sox, my mom’s favorite team, took the title, winning their first World Series since 1918.

— Daina Falk

4 pounds chuck roast
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried Italian parsley
5 banana peppers, thinly sliced, or to taste
1 cup beef stock
8 to 10 whole-wheat buns
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high. Add the beef, and brown both sides quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Decrease the heat to medium, add the onion, and cook for 4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.

Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker, and add the oregano, basil, parsley, banana peppers and stock. Add a couple healthy grinds of black pepper, and cover. Cook on low for 9 hours, or until the beef is soft and can be pulled apart with a fork.

Serve the beef hot on the buns, topped with a healthy slice of mozzarella, which will melt with the heat of the beef. Or put it under the broiler for 2 minutes to also lightly toast the tops of the buns. Serve with a small cup of the jus (the yummy juice left in the slow cooker) for dipping. Serves 8 to 10.

— From “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking & Watching Sports” by Daina Falk (Oxmoor House, $22.95)

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