Chicago Stocking Stuffers, Chicago Gift Set, Christmas Gift For Someone From Chicago

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Did you marry or recently start dating someone from Chicago & you just don't know what to gift them?

Looking for the BEST CHICAGO GIFTS? Are you in love wit' someone from the Windy City & you just don't know what to get him or her? Maybe you just miss your family or home in Chicago & you want to taste some comfort food! Here are some of the top Chicago Foods on Amazon that will make you or your loved one feel at home! Regional foods out here truly are "Chicago Friggin' Delicious!"

chicago style italian beef
Chicago Johnny's Italian Beef Wit' Hot Giardiniera

Chicago Style Italian Beef "Sangwiches"! Absolutely da best ting' to come outta Chicago, because, well, it's the vessel that most commonly holds "Giardiniera!" So you married someone from Chicago & they are always talking about this mysterious meet sandwich wit' hot peppers & oil all over it, so juicy that you have to eat it wit' your elbows far out to your sides & your pinky fingers hanging out so the juices don't roll down your arms; the crunchy, spicy, acidic hot peppers balancing the flavors of the thinly sliced beef piled high on a luscious soft French roll dipped in the very gravy that the beef was cooked in. City workers rubbing elbows with CEO's & stock market traders in a standing room only "Beef Joint" while looking out the window watching traffic & people walk the streets. That's Chicago!

How do you compile this Italian beef 'sangwich' (you know, sandwich, but wit' a heavy Chicago accent)? First you start wit' da bread! In Chicago we use a high gluten French roll (typically Gonnella or Turano, but there are others). The bread needs to be chewy & dense wit' a tough & crusty exterior so that you can dip the whole sandwich to make it 'wet' (gross, right? Wrong!). Then you pile up some thinly sliced Italian beef that's been cooked, sliced, then heated 'tru' in the very juices that it was cooked in. An average 6" French roll will hold about 4-6 ounces of Italian beef when you make your 'sangwiches'. Then comes the greatest Chicago culinary creation, the Giardiniera (jarred-in-air). This pickled pepper, celery, cauliflower, carrot mix is a great blend of hot, crunchy, acidity, deep flavor that goes on top of the Italian beef sandwich (unless, of course, your want sweet peppers - a fried sliced bell pepper with oregano & salt, but trust me, you want some hot giardiniera if you can handle the heat). Cheese is optional at most Beef Joints across Chicago & is usually mozzarella or a mozzarella/provolone mix. Take this whole sandwich & dip it in the gravy to make a 'wet' sandwich or enjoy it as is for a 'dry' sandwich!

Get what you need for an Italian beef at home from Amazon!

chicago deep dish pizza
Chicago Johnny's Deep Dish Pizza

The Famous Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza! Is it really that deep? 

Well, yes it is! This Chicago classic style of pizza is not all about a ton more carbs, its about creating a 'wall' to hold in a lot more cheese, sauce, & toppings. When you make a deep dish pizza you 'pull up' the dough around the side walls of an aluminum pan to create a kind of pie crust. These high walls of dough are able to hold in everything, I guess similar to a pie! There is not much more dough than a traditional Chicago thin crust on the bottom of a deep dish (though there is a common misconception from outsiders that there is). Typically there is a lot of olive oil or butter (sometimes even corn oil) in the crust. This creates a flaky, rich, friggin delicious crust!

So once we've created this 'pie' dough we add cheese, usually a mozzarella, provolone, & Romano mix. Then we top the cheese with toppings (or fillings if you want to call them that). Some of the most common fillings are bell peppers, onions, Italian sausage (in a patty form or a crumbled form), spinach, & often pepperoni. Then, & this is the most confusing part if you are unfamiliar with deep dish pizza, comes the sauce! The sauce is generally a crushed tomato & spices mix to create a thick, rich sauce that won't slide off when you cut the pie. The reason sauce is on top of this amazing creation is because of the extended cooking time, you don't want the cheese to burn or the toppings to dry out! Then comes a heavy dose of Peccorino Romano or Parmesan cheese. This is typically not a "pick it up by the slice & eat it" kind of pizza, we use fork & knife to eat Chicago deep dish pizzas! Top it off wit' some hot giardiniera if you want to add a true Chicago spice to your meal!


What would a Chicago food gift package be without a Chicago hot dog!?

chicago style hot dog
Chicago Style Hot Dog "Dragged Tru Da Garden"

A Chicago hot dog is an all beef, generally natural casing, smoked hot dog topped wit' a pickle spear, mustard, raw onions, sport peppers, sliced & halved tomatoes (I prefer roma tomatoes), neon green relish (I mean NEON green), & a dash of celery salt. We call this "Dragged Tru' Da Garden" because of all the vegetables & toppings on it. Serve it on a steamed poppy seed bun, typical to Chicago.

So to make this delicious, filling Chicago Dog start with an all beef hot dog. There are two major brands in Chicago, Vienna Hot Dogs & Red Hot Chicago Dogs, both owned by Vienna. But there are plenty of delicious, all beef, smoked natural casing hot dogs (Bobak's & Daisy brand are friggin amazing). This hot dog has a 'snap' to it when you bite into it from the natural sheep intestine casing.

Place this all beef smoked hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, then add your mustard, neon green relish, fresh diced white onion, quartered pickle spear, tomato slices, sport peppers (traditional to Chicago, a small pickled pepper (similar to a Tabasco pepper), & of course, a dash of celery salt (salt & crushed celery seed mix). You get a great mix of acidity, salt, fresh, smoky, & tangy flavors from this great Chicago classic!

Make your own Chicago style hot dogs at home!

 

What would a Chicago gift pack be without a great Maxwell Street Polish Sausage?

maxwell street polish sausage chicago sandwich
Classic Maxwell Street Polish Sausage From Chicago
Often unknown by outsiders, the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage is a summer favorite in Chicago. A course ground Polish sausage, smoked, & topped wit' sauteed onions, mustard, & often sport peppers, this is one of Chicago's best street foods!

Oddly enough, this heavy, smoked sausage is often served on a poppy seed hot dog bun! This gives a soft, fluffy wrapping contradictory to a very good 'snap' that comes from the natural encased Polish sausage! Topped with sauteed white onions (cooked in the grease from the Polish sausage or in butter), classic yellow mustard, & quite frequently with sport peppers. All around a great sandwich with a nice tangy bite, smoke flavor, sweetness from the onions & the Polish itself, & great acidity & spice from the sport peppers. Definitely a must try sandwich if you are in the area.


As common as a great juicy Italian beef 'sangwich' is the classic fennel Italian sausage! 

Chicago Johnny's Italian Sausage
Chicago Style Italian Sausage

I make my own Hot Italian Sausage & I've been making it since I was about 5 years old. As a matter of fact, our recipe goes all the way back four generations to the Sout' Side of Chicago! I sell locally to regular customers but do not distribute or sell online (sorry, locals only). There are some great Italian sausages out there though!

Typically grilled (we call it charring {ch-are-ing}) & with a great crust to the sausage, there are many variations. I love a good Italian sausage with whole fennel seeds in them! A natural pork intestine casing gives a great snap to Italian sausage & also provides a cooking vessel for the pork to 'stew' it's own juices inside! You will see just as many Italian sausages on menus across Chicago as you will Italian beef sandwiches.

So start with a good, all pork, coarse ground Italian sausage with plenty of whole fennel. Grill it in a coil or in links, but make sure to give a great 'char' to the exterior! Then, use a quality, dense French roll (usually the same as the Italian beef sandwiches, Gonnella or Turano). You will find yellow mustard everywhere that serves an Italian sausage around here but seldom used. More than likely you will be topping your Italian wit' sweet peppers & onions, sweet peppers & garlic, or hot giardiniera! I prefer hot giardiniera on a hot Italian sausage because the acidity, flavored oil, & crunch from the peppers & celery mesh so well with this pork sausage! I always toast my French roll too, a nice flaky outside (& smoke flavor from the grill) with a soft & chewy inside is the perfect combination for a nice char-grilled hot Italian sausage!

 

However you do Chicago food you are doing it right! Just enjoy yourself & let our local comfort food take your worries away!

 

- Johnny


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