Well isn’t this the perfect little yummy dish for a blog based near Philly?
Cheesesteak eggrolls. I grew up outside of Cleveland, so I’m not sure if cheesesteaks in any other form are sacrilege or not. We had Steak-umms when I was a kid; I’m pretty sure they would qualify for that offense :) My brothers and sisters and I loved them anyway. That skinny little red box in the freezer meant a fast yummy sandwich to us.
We first had this treat as an appetizer at a restaurant nearby. It ended up becoming one of our favorite things on the menu. An order was two eggrolls and my husband and I would split the order because the kids weren’t interested. Then a few years passed and they became very interested, so we shared the order with them. Everyone wanted more, so the next time, we doubled the order. With everyone fighting over the plate and still wanting more, I figured it was time to recreate this dish at home. I didn’t think it would be too difficult, having made thousands of eggrolls with my dad over the years (read more about that in this post); I certainly could make a cheesesteak eggroll.
Everyone has their favorite cheesesteak in Philly. Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s and Tony Luke’s are among the names you might hear, but there are many more whose names you might never have heard of that are local favorites. We happen to like the cheesesteaks at a little pizza shop in our old neighborhood. We’d love to find one that compares closer to home, not that we eat them often. They are a splurge treat to be sure, but if you’re going to splurge, you might as well make it worth it (yes, we will drive far for good food.) Bad cheesesteaks are really a terrible waste of a good splurge.
These eggrolls are a semi splurge. They are deep fried, which is something we only do once or twice a year, max. But they are much smaller than a cheesesteak and therefore have built in portion control. (Except that they are really, really good and you probably will eat more than just one!) I have a good Southwestern Eggroll recipe that is both vegetarian and baked. Those are not a splurge and we make them often. I know you can bake these as well, we tried it… but they really are so much better fried. When you bite into that hot crispy wrapper and inside is tender steak, melted cheese and fried onions, you’ll say, “Yes, I’m glad I fried it.” Ugh…soooo good!
The eggrolls are filled with steak, cheese and onions. Everything is precooked and then cooled before rolling. I browned the onions a bit first to give them some color and flavor. The onions are chopped so you don’t end up with any stringy pieces when you take a bite. Then I used a thinly shaved steak. If you can’t find it, the butcher can slice some up for you. Ours was really shaved, as in I could barely separate the pieces when I cooked them. I flash fried them in the same pan I used for the onions, and tried not to fully cook them. I achieved this by not cooking individual layers of steak which would have browned through almost as soon as they hit the pan, but instead piled about a 1/2″ of shaved beef in the pan, then separated them a bit while I cooked them. I wanted some pink because they would be cooked further in the fryer. Once I had a pile of cooked steak, I ran my knife through it once, in only one direction to break it up a bit, again so that it would make for an easy bite.
We used American cheese slices, but everyone has a preference. I think the flavor and melting qualities work perfectly here. I divided up the slice on the top and bottom of the meat so that it melts through evenly. The photo shows a half slice of cheese, divided. If you put too much cheese in it, it overpowers the steak, so a thin half slice worked best. It also makes for a neat little package to roll up.
These make a fantastic appetizer, but we had them for dinner one night and balanced the splurge with lots of vegetables for sides. For me, two was filling enough for a meal. As an appetizer, I’d cut them in half diagonally and prop them up on a platter with a few dips.
When we have traditional cheesesteaks, we order a bit of mayo on them, but for these rolls, I like good ole’ ketchup and a creamy horseradish sauce for dipping. I actually like dipping them on my plate in both sauces for a really tasty bite. You could make a spicy ketchup, a creamy mustard or other dip if you’d prefer; you could even go with no dip, but that’s no fun.
And why splurge on Cheesesteak Eggrolls if it’s not going to be fun?
For the eggrolls:
- 3 cups chopped onion
- olive oil
- 10-11 thin slices of American cheese quartered
- 2 pounds shaved steak
- 1 package egg roll wrappers about 21 wrappers-I used Nasoya
- salt and pepper
- water for wrapping
- peanut corn or canola oil for deep frying
For the horseradish sauce:
- 1/2 cup sour cream I used light
- 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish slightly drained
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ketchup for dipping
Heat your oil to 350 degrees F in a heavy pot or in your deep fryer. If you're using a heavy pot, try to pick a deep one that you can fill with three inches or so of oil without filling the pan more than halfway full. Use a thermometer so that you can monitor the temperature.
In a large frying pan, fry the chopped onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil until they have some deep golden brown edges. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan that you fried the onions, heat up just a bit of olive oil and flash fry the shaved steak. I had to do about four batches so that the pan wasn't over crowded. If you add too much meat, you won't brown it, you'll steam it. Each batch should only take a minute to quickly brown while leaving some pink. I salted and peppered each batch to taste.
Place all of the cooked meat on a cutting board and run a knife through it to break up any bigger chunks or slices. This will make for an easier bite and easier scooping when filling the wrappers.
I let my fillings cool while I made the horseradish sauce and got ready for the next step.
Make the horseradish sauce by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Get your work area ready to assemble the egg rolls. Spread out a sheet of foil and fill a small bowl of water. Get a brush to use with the water. If you don't have a brush, you can use the back of a spoon to moisten the wraps. (The photo shows waxed paper on top of the foil. I only did this to reduce the glare for photography.)
Place a wrapper with corners facing north and south on your work surface. Brush top two sides lightly with water.
Take a quartered slice of cheese and place it on the bottom third of the wrapper. Scoop a 1/4 cup of steak and place it on top of the cheese. Top with a spoonful of fried onions, then finish with another quarter slice of cheese.
Bring the bottom corner of the wrapper up and over the filling, using it to pull back on the filling as you roll to help tighten it. Use your fingers to tuck in any stray filling that may be escaping the sides.
Roll egg roll partially, then flatten sides of the wrapper against the filling. Brush flattened sides with water and wrap them up on top of the egg roll. Finish rolling until egg roll is fully wrapped.
Check the temperature of your oil to make sure it's at 350, then fry eggrolls in batches being sure not to overcrowd the pan. I used a small but deep sauce pan and fried two at a time. The egg rolls are done when they are golden brown. Because all of the filling is cooked, you just want to make sure your wrapper cooks through and gets crispy while your filling gets hot and the cheese melts. If your oil is at the right temperature, this should take about 2-3 minutes, but go by how it looks, not by time. Make sure your temperature returns to 350 degrees before fry each batch. Too low a temperature and your eggrolls will absorb a lot of oil and be greasy, too hot and the wrapper will brown too fast and possibly burn.
When the eggrolls are finished frying, remove them to a strainer that's been placed over a heat safe bowl so that you can drain them standing up. I find this works better than having them lie on their sides.
Serve with horseradish sauce and ketchup for dipping.
* Be sure to use an oil that has a high smoke point. Some oils, like most olive oils cannot tolerate the high temperatures of deep frying. I love using peanut oil but I've used canola or vegetable oil with success. Here's a list of smoke points for your reference.
*For the steak, I used Trader Joe's Shaved Beef Steak and it worked really well because it is sliced so thin. It's super tender with no chewy bits, which is perfect for an eggroll. Ribeye is a classic choice for cheesesteaks if you end up having to have your steak shaved by the butcher, or you could also ask your butcher for a recommendation.
*Eggrolls may be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or longer in the freezer and reheated in a 375 degree oven until wrapper is crispy. Turn once halfway through reheating. If you are planning to make all of them ahead of time, I would be careful not to let them get too brown while frying as you will be planning to cook them again and you don't want them to burn. If you freeze them, I would thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven. You should also be able to bake them from a precooked frozen state, but I've never tried it.
The Merchant Baker © 2015