Another piece for Heinen’s Sunday Supper, and I find myself in a bit of an awkward spot this week. Because of course, like any true Chicago gal I’m all GO CUBS GO decked out in my Cubs ensemble, and yet this week I happen to be writing a World Series Sunday Suppers piece about our favorite Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches for the oh so lovely blog, 356 Barrington, and the grocery store, Heinen’s, which was founded and is quite expansive in the state of Ohio.
Ok, ok. Obviously no Cleveland bashing here let’s just go with the positive and hope for the best during Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night at Wrigley Field, one of our family’s favorite places.
This World Series is a big deal for the city of Chicago – a big deal. There seems to be an endless buzz in the air. Everywhere you go it’s the topic of conversation, and people are living in their jerseys and staying up too late watching and processing and analyzing the games. It all means a lot to people, you know? And while I’m certainly a Cubs fan, I turned to other die-hards to try to understand the deep love that people do have for the Chicago Cubs. Simply asking them what it would mean for the Cubs to win the World Series prompted all sorts of deep, reflective, and occasionally humorous comments. Let’s take a read, shall we?
“If the Cubs were to win, it would mean that after 60 years of cheering for the Cubs with my Mom and Dad, and wife, and children it was all worth it. Great memories that I have from each stage of my life: going to the games as an 8 year old boy, then going to games as a Northwestern student, then when I lived in the Wrigleyville neighborhood as I started my career, then as a Dad, now as a grandparent! Baseball is a sport for all ages and it would be fun to share the Championship with four generations!” – Dave (age 65) Barrington, IL (also happens to be a HUGE fan of Heinens daily fresh soups!)
“I’m obsessed with the Cubs because of all of the good memories – playing baseball myself as a kid, fun times attending games with family and friends at Wrigley Field, and Harry Carry/Steve Stone/Pat Hughes/Ron Santo’s voices in the background all summer. I associate the Cubs with the feeling of hope every spring as Chicago provides relief from a cold winter. All those positives despite a lack of competitiveness – imagine if they win one!” – Mike (age 38) Barrington, IL
“It would be special because I have loved the Cubs my whole life and I want to play for them when I grow up.” – Jack (age 7) Barrington, IL
“If they won I would be so happy, I would feel like everything is meant to be and that if you keep believing and are patient anything can happen!!” – Molly (age 26) Chicago, IL
“I would be happy for them. I am proud of the Cubs – if the Cubs played in a different city I wouldn’t get to see them get a W!!!!” – Andrew (age 10) Barrington, IL
“Being a Chicago fan for all sports, and not just a Cubs fan, it means all the jokes about the Cubs never winning will end and Chicago will have a championship sports team other than just the Blackhawks!” – Jeff (age 45) Deer Park, IL
“If the Cubs win I feel lucky because my hometown is making baseball history! There were a lot of people who never got to see the Cubs win a championship in their lifetime but I will get to tell my grandchildren that I did!” – Nicholas (14) Barrington, IL
“Honestly, it would mean the world to me. The main reason being my father and how he loved them and how he is not here to see this. It makes me sad but I know he is in heaven watching! And for all the others who has lived their whole lives and never got to see this. It’s so great that the city of Chicago with the greatest fans in the world get to join together for something happy – I hope we don’t get our hearts broken. If we do not win this young team has it in them, I know that! Our kids are so lucky they can see this so young – we all had to wait so long!!” – Annette (age 40-something 😉 Barrington, IL
“They would win a big shiny golden trophy!!!” – Beckett (4) Barrington, IL
“I can remember growing up watching my Grandma watch the games while in Chicago and Florida. She would keep score and track each and every game even though they were horrible. I think the Cubs instilled something in people – rooting for the underdog. Also, in the city, going to the game is such a social experience. It’s always so much fun, again, even when they are losing. I think it’s called the friendly confines for a reason. People genuinely are having a lot of fun and keeping up old traditions all the while creating new ones!” – Carolyn (age 29) Chicago, IL
See, really good stuff, right? And while corporate Heinen’s and I might not be rooting for the same team this time around, I think we can all agree and respect that there are some deep memories associated with the game of baseball, for both sides, and that those deep memories are so often passed down which is why it all means so much.
Another thing I would hope both sides could agree upon: ballpark FOOD! Oh my goodness why WHY is it so good. Who doesn’t have a memory of eating a hot dog with Grandpa? Or, an Italian beef? Sorry Ohio, I’m sure you have many strengths going into this series (that killer pitcher….what’s his name? Kluber?) but we have the Chicago combo.
Oh yes, I’m going there. Layers of meat my friends, layers of meat.
The best part of this Italian beef is that it is easy to throw together, sloooooooow cooks all day, feeds a crowd, and is the most perfect thing to chow down on with all generations while rooting for your favorite team. Throw a grilled sausage (we love the mild version from Heinen’s) on top and it’s like you’re at the ballpark yourself, yet you’re $2000 (or more!) richer.
This particular Italian beef recipe is a staple in our home and, dare I say it, has been compared to and even stated that it’s better than Portillos. Happy mama. Get it going in your slow cooker today to impress your grandkids, your kids, your spouse, your best friend, your neighbors….whoever may be over for the game. I hope it’s many generations. Throw on your jersey (be honest, you haven’t taken it off) and GO CUBS GO!
Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
- 3lb chuck roast, trimmed of visible fat and cut into large chunks (have your butcher do)
- 1 envelope Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
- 8oz pepperoncini pepper slices + splash of juice (plus extra for serving)
- 8oz Giardiniera (Chicago-Style Italian Sandwich Mix,) drained (plus extra for serving)
- 14.5oz can beef stock
- italian sausage (mild or spicy depending on what you like)
- provolone cheese slices
- hoagie buns
- Place chuck roast into the bottom of a 5.5 – 6 quart crock pot then sprinkle with salad dressing mix. Add pepperoncini peppers plus a splash of juice, Giardiniera, and beef broth then lift up chuck roast pieces to get broth underneath. Place a lid on top then cook on low for 7 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred then place meat back into crock pot and cook on low for 1 more hour.
- Meanwhile, grilled the italian sausage over medium heat for roughly 6-7 minutes per side, or roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. Let rest, and then slice into chunks the length of your buns.
- Split buns in half then scoop the shredded meat mixture on top and add provolone cheese slices. Top with additional pepperoncini peppers and Giardiniera, if desired, along with the grilled sausage and serve.
Best served with a Cubs Win at Wrigley Field!