Following a bye-week, the Steelers played the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Â Despite being located in the same state, there is no love lost between these two cities and their football fans. Â Dan tells me that Eagles fans are so notoriously unruly that their former stadium actually had a jail and a courtroom in it, so that belligerent patrons could be dealt with immediately. Â
Drunken violence zealous team support aside, Philadelphians know their way around a sandwich — specifically, the cheesesteak sandwich. Â Legend has it that the very first Philly cheesesteak was made by hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri in 1930, and became famous when a cab driver smelled the beef cooking, asked for a steak sandwich and spread the word to fellow cabbies. Â Although the original and truly authentic cheesesteak is made with beef, we decided to try a healthier adaptation using chicken for this week’s Steeler Opponent-City Challenge, inspired by the chipotle chicken cheesesteak from this sub shop. Â We used a chipotle cheese sauce also inspired by that sandwich, instead of the Cheese Whiz used in the authentic version. Â The chipotle adds a spicy, smoky flavor that takes the cheese sauce to a whole new level. Â Although different from the genuine Philly cheesesteak, we actually like the chipotle chicken version better. Â Much as we liked seeing the Steelers beat the Eagles with a field goal in the final 3 seconds of the game. Â Just don’t tell any over-served, hostile Eagles fans that our sandwich is better than theirs.
The cheese sauce recipe we used was actually intended as a topping for baked potatoes, but it worked really well on the cheesesteaks. Â Chop about 2 tablespoons of chipotle peppers (you can find chipotles in cans — usually labeled as “chipotle in adobo sauce” — in the Hispanic foods section of the grocery store.) Â Most recipes using chipotle only call for 1-2 peppers (they are spicy!), but any peppers you have leftover will last for a long time in a little plastic container in the fridge.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add the chopped chipotle and cook for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the flour and ground black pepper.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.
Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often until the sauce thickens — about 2-3 minutes.
Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Â Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the sauce warm.
Slice the onion and peppers for the cheesesteaks. Â We prefer red bell peppers over green ones, but use whichever you like.
While you’re making the sauce, the chicken should be in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Â Flash freezing the chicken this way makes it much, much easier to cut into very thin strips. Â We used boneless chicken breast, which don’t require much (if any) fat-trimming and are easy to work with. Â Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat a tablespoon or so of vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Â Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is done –about10 minutes. Â The chicken is done when it begins to brown and is no longer pink inside. Â The chicken will cook pretty quickly since it has been cut into strips.
Remove the chicken to a plate and tent it with foil so it stays warm.
Add another tablespoon of oil and saute the peppers and onions over medium-high heat until they begin to soften — about 6-8 minutes.
Return the chicken (and any accumulated juice) to the skillet with the onion and peppers.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of cheese sauce to the chicken mixture, stir it all together and cook for a couple of minutes.
Serve the chicken in a soft roll, topped with additional cheese sauce. Â We love these sandwiches and will definitely make them again. Â Chock up another win (for us and the Steelers!) in the S.O.C.C.: Â Steelers: Â 2-2, Foodie Lawyer: Â 3-1.