I’ve heard a rumor that there was something sportsball related that happened in Philadelphia. I think the Phillies won Fifa or something. So to celebrate, I’ll be bastardizing their one claim to culinary fame – tossing beef, cheese and aromatic veggies on a roll. I’m just not in the mood for bread, so the first change will be to replace the roll with an absurdist substitution. Okay, maybe not as absurd as I could have, but we’re going with portabello mushrooms. Since mushroom caps don’t fold too well, they’ll be more in the role of trenchers for the goop.
Being within the limits of the culinary talents of the residents of Philadelphia, it is a fairly straightforward process. We need to start by greasing a cooking surface. You could use butter, but I decided to go a different way. While collecting ingredients, I spotted salt pork on the grocery shelf. I figured I could use it in much the same was as bacon. I did make one oversight, I didn’t realize they sold salt pork with the skin still attached. This is mainly an inconvenience that made cubing it a bit more of a hassle than it otherwise would have been. I should have got bacon, it’d be easier. But, once chopped up, I tossed it into the pan and started rendering out the pork fat.
This part is simple, don’t let the pork stick to the pan, and keep it on medium heat until it lets the lard out. Once it does that and you have a nice, sizzling puddle of grease, it’s time to add the onions. Sliced or diced, doesn’t matter, we’re not being faithful to the original, but we need the onions browned or even caramelized for flavor. Even though you can probably guess what onions in a pan look like, I still took a picture anyway.
I’m too impatient to wait for the onions to caramelize, so I got out the shaved beef. They claim it’s shaved steak, but the consistency is more like that of a brisket. Doesn’t matter, it’s a brick of beef that has been frozen and fed through a deli slicer. I start piling this in with the onions.
Now, beef this thin cooks really fast, I mean it was less than half a minute between the time I put it in and this next picture.
So I needed to prep my trenchers, and I realized I had far too much beef for the amount of mushroom I had. So I needed plates. When I think of sportsball, I think of food slopped onto cheapass paper plates, so I dropped the ugly mushroom tops onto some of the cheapest I had at my disposal while the beef finished cooking. It was a suitably cheapass looking sight.
Now the key thing with the choice of cheese is how easily it melts. Since everything else is completely cooked at this point (except the mushrooms, which won’t be cooked at all), we want something that melts readily. I went with Monterrey Jack, because it will melt if you look at it harshly. I just heaped it on there…
And stirred it in. Before you know it, we get the goop we’re looking for.
We scoop the goop onto our fungal trenchers and… we get something that looks like a Philly street after a sportsball game…
Perhaps I should go and look for inspiration somewhere with a better culinary track record.