These two classic sandwiches are just the ticket for supper on a chilly winter night, or how about while watching the upcoming Super Bowl? Philly cheese steaks have suddenly gained nationwide popularity; the Kentucky open-face sandwich is less well known outside the state but equally delicious. Both sandwiches would be great served with a tossed mixed green salad.


A specialty of Philadelphia, the origins of this scrumptious sandwich have never been definitively nailed down, and ingredients for an “authentic” cheese steak are hotly debated. Thinly sliced sandwich steak and cheese (some insist on provolone, others use Cheez Whiz) are constants, but controversy swirls around whether to add browned onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms. This is my version, but of course you can make it at home however you like. If you’d prefer more juice on your sandwich, de-glaze the pan with a cup of canned beef broth or water and pour it over the sandwich filling.

Serves 2

12 ounces boneless rib-eye steak

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced, optional

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 to 5 processed “American” cheddar slices, about 3 ounces

2 crusty hoagie rolls or Portuguese rolls, split

Butter for rolls

Freeze the steak for 1 hour or until about half frozen. This will make it easier to slice. Cut across the grain into very thin slices.

Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-large skillet. Cook the onions and the pepper, if using, over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan.

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and then cook meat over medium-high heat, tossing with tongs now and then, until seared and no longer pink within. Make 2 sandwich-shaped mounds of the ingredients in the pan and top each with cheese slices. Cover the pan so the cheese melts.

Toast the cut sides of the rolls, then butter. Transfer the meat mounds to the rolls using a large spatula. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve with ketchup.


Created by a chef at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1920s as a late-night snack, this open-faced sandwich also makes a perfect winter supper. The original “Hot Brown” was usually made with a mild Mornay sauce, but these days sharp cheddar seems to be used more often, as a pleasing foil for the turkey.

Serves 2

8 slices bacon

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon sherry

4 slices sturdy white sandwich bread

Butter for toast

12 ounces cooked turkey, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Fry the bacon in medium skillet over medium-low heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels; pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.

Add the scallions to the pan drippings and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, whisking, for about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, smooth, and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Add Worcestershire and cayenne and, off heat, stir in the cheese until it melts. Stir in the sherry. (Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Re-whisk sauce when ready to proceed.)

Preheat the broiler. Toast the bread, spread with butter, and arrange it on a baking sheet. Layer the turkey on the toast and divide the cheese sauce over turkey. Arrange 2 bacon slices atop each sandwich and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Broil about 5 inches from the heat source until the sauce is bubbly and flecked with brown. Serve immediately with a knife and fork.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She can be contacted via Facebook at:

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