• Chopped Cheese Sandwich


I ate a lot of chopped cheese sandwiches as a kid growing up.

You’d find them in nooks and crannies of the city, in bodegas in the Bronx. It’s like a cheesesteak but made with hamburger meat and slices of American cheese. I like hot peppers in mine and skip the condiments, but feel free to add lettuce and tomato if that’s more your speed.

Chopped Cheese Sandwich


This is a five-ingredient recipe and you can use as much of each ingredient as you want.

  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Ground beef
  • American cheese, plus aged Provolone if you want
  • Chopped cherry peppers


Chopped cheese was often made on a griddle, but at home you can make it on a griddle or in a pan. I love my big flat skillet that acts like a giant griddle.

Heat your skillet or griddle, then add the chopped mushrooms and onion. Cook until they’re caramelized, you’ll know they’re ready by the smell.

Using the tip of your spatula—I prefer a wooden one—push the mushrooms and onions to the side. Add the ground beef.

Using your spatula, separate the ground beef into pieces so you can get them nice and browned on as many pieces as possible.

After a couple minutes of stirring, if you want to make it spicy, add red chili flakes or chopped hot peppers.

Once the edges of the meat are browned you can start cutting the meat with the tip of your spatula. Mix the meat with the onions and mushrooms and keep moving everything around, just like you would on a griddle.

Once everything is cooked I add chopped red cherry peppers, aged Provolone, and—the most important—American cheese. Once the cheese melts, give it a good stir. Then load up your French bread loaf. I warm mine in the oven.

You can add lettuce, tomato, or other condiments but I prefer mine without anything other than onions, cheese, mushrooms, beef, and peppers.

My Go-To Chopped Cheese Recipe by Andrew Zimmern

A simple weeknight recipe inspired by the bodega sandwiches of my childhood.

Read on Substack

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