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Turn Philly’s Second Most-Famous Sandwich into a 30-Minute Meal

We took a few smart shortcuts to turn this labor of love into a weeknight dinner.

Published Nov. 10, 2021.

It’s nearly impossible to think about Philadelphia without thinking of its namesake Philly cheesesteak sandwich. But you should also know Philly’s other famous dish: the roast pork sandwich, which is a surprisingly satisfying combination of thinly-sliced roast pork shoulder, a big pile of garlicky broccoli rabe (or spinach depending on the spot), peppers, and gooey melted cheese on a hoagie roll. While there are countless locations in Philadelphia to try this hearty meal, making it at home can be a lengthy affair, as roasting a pork shoulder can take up to five hours.

If you want to travel to Philadelphia via your kitchen on any old weeknight, we have just the recipe you need: Sheet-Pan Quick Pork and Broccoli Rabe Cheesesteak Sandwiches. We took a few smart shortcuts to turn this labor of love into a 30-minute dinner. You can learn how to make this recipe in the latest episode of our YouTube series Today's Special, with Ashley Moore.

Here are the steps to streamline the process:

1. Use pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder. Skipping the pork shoulder helps cut down significantly on cook time. What we don’t skip, however, are the requisite seasonings that truly emulate the Philly classic: fennel and rosemary. After coating a 1 pound pork tenderloin in plenty of olive oil, Ashley seasons it with lots of salt and pepper, and a mixture of chopped rosemary and fennel seeds. The tenderloin gets placed on one side of a rimmed baking sheet and goes into the oven for 10 minutes to get a head start on cooking. 

2. Add vegetables to the baking sheet so they finish cooking at the same time as the pork. We toss two red bell peppers and a bunch of broccoli rabe in olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and most importantly, four crushed cloves of garlic. Then the vegetables get added to the baking sheet with the pork, which means that both elements will be finished cooking at the same time, just 20 minutes more.

3. Toast the bread while the pork rests. Once the vegetables are browned and the tenderloin reaches 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to take them out of the oven, tent the pork with some foil, and transfer the vegetables to a bowl. This way, we can use the same sheet pan to lightly toast the rolls and melt the cheese—salty provolone, natch—in the oven. 

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4. Slice the tenderloin super thin. When it comes to slicing the tenderloin, it’s especially important to do so as thinly as possible to mimic how you would get it at a sandwich shop. A splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar are the finishing touches, with the acidity helping to cut through the richness of the pork and cheese. 

“I understand why this is so popular. The broccoli rabe, it’s super bitter. The sweet red bell pepper and then thin slices of seasoned pork tenderloin,” Ashley says. “And the provolone, I mean, you can’t go wrong with melted provolone cheese.” 

When a visit to The City of Brotherly Love isn’t in the cards, this recipe is sure to transport you in just 30 minutes.

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