A ridiculously flavorful Philly cheesesteak and cauliflower mixture stuffed into a delicious crisp bell pepper. The Philly filling is pressure cooked using the Instant Pot to push the flavor into the ground hamburger and cauliflower leaving a tender and tasty Philly cheesesteak and cauliflower to fill your favorite color sweet bell pepper.
From what I have been told from foodie friends and what I have read in recipe books throughout my life, the authentic Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich is not what we all think it is. The roll used in the original sandwich was an Amoroso roll. I’ve used loafs of Italian bread, sandwich rolls, and hoagie rolls sliced from the side and opened to be filled.
I have used a variety of meats including ribeye, top sirloin, top round, deli bought roast beef, ground hamburger and ground turkey. The original recipe calls for thin sliced ribeye to be used for the steak.
Now the ingredient I have always been a stickler on is the cheese. I love a really gooey cheesesteak sandwich but I do not like it to be overwhelmed by stinky cheese flavor. Provolone, American and Cheese Whiz are all commonly used cheeses but I think are a little to funky flavored. I use a lot of mozzarella for the gooeyness and Parmesan to get the right flavor. The original recipe will surprise you with cheese not being an ingredient on the Philly cheesesteak sandwich.
Onions are a must have on any sandwich if you ask me. The original Philly cheesesteak left the onions up to the customer ordering the sandwich.
I like to think this is a healthy recipe for Philly Cheesesteak. It’s not a sandwich at all. We end up with a half of a bell pepper filled with mozzarella and parmesan, seasoned ground hamburger, and cauliflower. This is all pushed into a mound of the ridiculously flavorful ground burger and cauliflower to satisfy your empty belly.
We are going to use the Instant Pot for this recipe. Hit Sauté on your Instant Pot and after the pot is HOT, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pot. Then drop in about 2 pounds of ground hamburger and chop the burger into small pieces.
Let’s brown the burger on sauté for 5 minutes, stir well scraping the pot bottom clean with a flat wooden spatula as you go. Let the hamburger brown for another 5 minutes to finish cooking.
I use the Instant Pot Slow Cooker lid to hold the burger in the pot as I dump the liquid fat or grease from the pot. Living in a 32 foot 5th wheel, our freezer room is limited so I ditched the frozen can of grease and fat for a piece of aluminum foil. I push a piece into the kitchen drain, dump the fat in that, fold it up and throw it away.
We are adding a whole head of cauliflower to the hamburger so we have to boost the flavor. To add that savory flavor, we will add a Tbsp of both soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. To round it all out, we will add some beef bouillon, salt, ground black pepper, and granulated onion. Onion powder works just fine if you do not have granulated onion.
Don’t forget about the head of garlic thin sliced or diced.
To pressure cook food, a liquid is boiled into hot steam and contained in a sealed environment. The flavors added to the liquid are now surrounding the ingredients in the pot with a good amount of pressure behind them. This way of cooking, when done right, makes for a tender meat that is packed full of flavor.
Once all of the ingredients are in the instant pot, make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to pressure cook successfully.
Put the instant pot lid on and seal the pressure release valve. It takes a while for the instant pot to boil enough liquid to build up enough steam inside the pot to push the red floater valve up to seal the instant pot. It may seam like there is something wrong with steam screaming through the floater valve but it’s just building pressure.
Press the Pressure Cook button to turn on the pressure cook function. Then you can use the arrow buttons to adjust the pressure cook time to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will beep 10 times or so when the 10 minutes are finished. The instant pot will shut off the high heat to the pot and kick over to keep warm.
Natural pressure release is leaving the instant pot pressure release valve sealed after the instant pot has finished its pressure cook time. The instant pot will cool to the keep warm temperature and will stop producing steam inside the pot. This allows the pressure inside the instant pot to drop slowly.
When the pressure has finally dropped close to the pressure outside of the pot, the floater valve will drop and the lid will be able to be removed. For this recipe, we will use the natural pressure release for ten minutes and then release the pressure by opening the pressure release valve. I use a kitchen timer set at 10 minutes as soon as the instant pot beeps after the 10 minutes of pressure cooking.
Our goal is to fill our bellies with an incredible Philly cheesesteak without the celeries. Let’s substitute the bread or roll with some cauliflower. As well as one large white onion.
While the Instant Pot is in the natural pressure release phase, use a sharp knife to medium slice one white onion. If you’re using a sharp knife, I recommend for your safety to use an end grain wood cutting board. I love the intense white onion flavor for this recipe. Also, take one large head of cauliflower and break and cut it down into bite size pieces.
Once the lid has been removed, add the sliced onions and cauliflower pieces to the hamburger in the instant pot. Use a flat wooden spatula to stir the onions and cauliflower into the hamburger well. At this time, we can put the instant pot lid back on seal the pressure release valve again.
Let’s do it again! Put the Instant Pot lid back on and seal the pressure release valve. Press the Pressure Cook button and set the time to 3 minutes. We want the cauliflower to be super tender, not hard or crunchy. In contrast to how we would normally steam our cauliflower for zero minutes if it were to be a part of a side dish.
Following the 3 minutes of pressure cooking, we immediately open the pressure release valve. Our cauliflower has a lot of water in it and adds to the liquid we already had in with the hamburger. Undoubtedly, we need to drain all of the liquid from our Philly cheesesteak and cauliflower.
I recommend the Instant Pot Slow Cooker Lid again to help. To elucidate, put the slow cooker lid over the instant pot “pot” leaving a small gap on one side. To continue, hold the lid in place with your thumbs as you dump the unneeded fluid out while holding the hamburger and cauliflower in the pot. Yes! I got to use the word elucidate.
I have a deep love for red bell peppers. Sometimes I cannot find good red bell peppers so I’ll find the best looking orange bell pepper. The orange bell peppers are not as sweet as the red but still have a great bell pepper flavor.
While the cauliflower and onions are pressure cooking with the hamburger, let’s get the bell peppers ready. Slice the color bell pepper of your choice in half and remove the seeds.
We have a little time to shred our cheese. First, we need to shred about a cup and a half of mozzarella cheese using a sharp cheese grater. Second, we shave to shred some parmesan cheese.
To start this beautiful piece of artwork, scoop about a cup and a half worth of the hamburger and cauliflower mixture and make a mound on your plate. Next, we will make a good divot in that mound with the back of our serving spoon. Following this by pushing a bell pepper half into the divot so the bell pepper is well surrounded.
Importantly, we need to put about a 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese into the bell pepper and sprinkle some around the hamburger and cauliflower outside the pepper as well.
Follow the mozzarella with a large scoop of the Philly cheesesteak and cauliflower. Smash it into the pepper with the back of the spoon to fill the pepper completely. This will help to melt the mozzarella cheese.
It is now time to top everything off with a flavorful cheese. In my opinion, parmesan cheese has the right strong flavor we’re looking for without being overpowering. Lay down a good layer of parmesan cheese on top of the Philly masterpiece.
Finally, we are ready to melt the parmesan cheese. The heat from the hamburger and cauliflower will soften the parmesan cheese but it will not get the cheese bubbly. There for, you need to add some heat one way or another. You can put your plate directly under the broiler for just a moment to melt the Parmesan cheese.
On the other hand, I like to use a kitchen torch. Obviously this is much more fun and satisfying being in direct control of the flame. Move the flame around continuously directed at the cheese until it begins to bubble.
Use a knife to slice through the stuffed bell pepper into bite size pieces. Take a fork full of cheese covered flavorful ground hamburger and cauliflower with a piece of bell pepper and take a bite. Well done!