No need to hit a Bodega just for a taste of this New York Classic when you make these Chopped Cheese Sandwiches. The perfect mixture of ground beef, onions, all mixed together with melted cheese before being topped with fresh crisp lettuce, tomatoes, and whatever condiments your heart desires. These Chopped Cheese Sandwiches are serious business but that doesn’t mean they’re hard to make!
Like so many things in life, the origins of the legendary Chopped Cheese is hazy at best but we do know that it started to garner significant attention around 2018. Many speculate that the sandwich was a twist on an classic Arabic specialty, dagha yamneeya. Dagha yamneeya is a wonderful dish that changes depending on who or where it’s made but a popular version is that it’s ground beef fried in butter with some cilantro, tomatoes, peas, onion and garlic, green pepper and seasoned with a generous amount of curry powder, cumin, black pepper. The dish is then served on Yemeni bread sometimes with french fries mixed in but sometimes now.
Just reading that, you may already see some similarities between the two dishes. But some people think it’s just a recent creation. There’s a great documentary on Youtube called Hometown Hero: The Legend of New York’s Chopped Cheese that really dives into the sandwich’s origins and cultural history that we recommend.
An important part of any sandwich, not just a Chopped Cheese, is the bread. The bread can make or break the sandwich, so it’s important that we examine our options and choose the best one for the job. In a previous attempt at Chopped Cheese sandwiches, we used Bolillo rolls from a local Hispanic grocery. Bolillo is basically the Mexican Baguette, brought over in the 1860s by Emperor Maximillan’s cooks. We stand by this as a solid choice for your bread, but we also enjoy a classic sub roll. Sometimes you can’t beat the classics.
The largest difference is that a Chopped Cheese Sandwich is that it uses ground beef while a Philly Cheesesteak uses beef steak strips or thinly sliced beef. Additionally, Philly Cheesesteaks involve a lot more thickly sliced bell peppers, while the green pepper in a Chopped Cheese is diced small.
Absolutely, not only does this help maintain the sandwich’s structural integrity but it also gives it a crispy edge when you bite into it!
The most traditional way is with American Cheese, it melts evenly and tastes pretty Dan Good. However, you can easily substitute a cheddar cheese in its place. You could also experiment with something like a Muenster or Gouda, but traditionally it's American or Cheddar.
The world is your oyster is our answer here. A lot of folks love it with just Mayo and Ketchup, kinda like a cheeseburger but Dan likes to use a little mustard on his Chopped Cheese.
We believe that the first version used chopped up burger patties, however you can get the same result and save yourself some effort by using Ground beef. We used 80/20 medium grind ground beef but you can use whatever type you prefer as long as it’s high quality.