Philly cheesesteaks are good, but when you’re from New England, you like your steak sandwiches a little different. Here’s how to make Steak Bombs.
Earlier this summer, I was thrilled to find shaved steak at the grocery store and bought the last package. But somewhere between the checkout and my house, it went missing. I phoned the store for help, but they didn’t know where it went either. They offered to replace it, but for weeks they didn’t have shaved steak.
Fortunately, I am resourceful and have since found it elsewhere.
Also, fortunately, the missing package didn’t turn up rotting in some dark corner of my car. That’s always a concern when a grocery goes missing. Has it happened to you too?
In any case, I wanted this cut of meat for a specific reason: to make steak bomb-inspired dishes that my family has come to adore. Steak bombs are one of those regional foods that become beloved to certain populations. But don’t mistake it for other, similar, regional foods.
A New England steak bomb bears some similarities to a Philly cheesesteak. Both are made with shaved steak. Both have onions and cheese. Both are served on a roll. But that’s where the similarities end.
Steak bombs start with onions and sweet peppers — I usually use a red and a yellow one — sauteed until they begin to caramelize.
Then the vegetables are pushed to the side of the pan so the shaved steak can be added. It’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper and allowed to brown. You break it apart and flip it occasionally while it cooks.
Once the meat is browned and broken apart, mix it with the vegetables. Then remove all that from the pan (you’ll want to keep the pan hot).
From there, I add enough meat and veggies for a single sandwich back to the pan and smother it with cheese. I try to do this in a line — like the shape of the roll — so it’s easy to transfer later. Then I cover the pan and let that cheese melt. Finally, I use a spatula to transfer the meat, veggies and cheese to the roll.
It’s totally okay if the cheese gets folded into the center of the sandwich. In fact, that’s part of the charm.
Then it’s ready to eat.
Now, if you are into mushrooms, then you might want them to get into the mix too. Add them at the same time as the onions and peppers and cook ’em good. But mushrooms are totally optional.
Some steak bombs in New England also include other meat — salami, pepperoni, bacon or even sausage. Those who grew up with salami on their steak bombs are super passionate about it and insist that all must have it. But like mushrooms, it’s a preference. If you are interested in adding additional meat such as salami or pepperoni, layer it on the roll before the steak, veggies and cheese. If you want to add sausage or bacon to the mix, add it in (cooked) with the steak and veggies.
New England Steak Bombs are a total family favorite. We eat them with roasted veggies or sometimes fries. Always a delight.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion (or equivalent of smaller onions), thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb shaved steak
- 4 slices provolone cheese (or 1 cup shredded mozzarella)
- 4 sub rolls, cut to open
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the olive oil and swirl around the pan to coat.
- Add the peppers and onions to the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, until they begin to brown. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan.
- Add the shaved steak to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brown the meat, breaking it apart and flipping as needed until it’s no longer red. This will take about 5-6 minutes.
- Mix the cooked meat with the veggies thoroughly. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Remove from the pan.
- With the pan still set on the burner set to medium heat, add enough meat and vegetables back to fill a single sandwich (add a bit more than you think you need). Top with cheese. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Use a spatula to transfer the meat, veggies and cheese to a roll.
- Repeat until all the meat and veggie mixture has been used.