California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich

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California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich


The story behind California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich

Growing up, when we would stop for fast food, it was usually Carl’s Jr. or McDonald’s. At Carl’s Jr. rather than a hamburger, I would opt for their California Roast Beef Sandwich, a combination of seasoned roast beef (I think they put it into a jus so it was sort of French dip like), along with some swiss cheese, Ortega chile and thinly sliced tomato, all on a steamed bun.

I‘m not changing the name to Hatch Chile Roast Beef Sandwich – although in this case I could

When I first met my husband, he was bartending. Or as he put it, “taking a vacation”.  After a long night of pouring drinks filled with Midori and any other sweet booze (they really loved their Midori drinks where he worked) and closing the register; we would head over to Denny’s; one of the few places still open at that time of night, for their Super Bird sandwich, a combo of french bread, American cheese, deli turkey and sliced tomato. I’ve already improved upon this with my Turkey Bird.

But when you put them together…what have you got?

Well, I use to call it the “Bell Beefer” but since Taco Bell is not a player in the preliminary line-up, it’s now a…

 California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich.

After returning from Santa Fe, New Mexico with my stash of Hatch chiles, I knew this sandwich was coming to our dinner table soon. And so it did.

But I’m not changing the name to Hatch Chile Roast Beef Sandwich, because I’ve been making it for years with California roasted chiles. And I live in California. So it stays with California. Even though I used a New Mexico chile this time.

As with the turkey bird, I start with sourdough bread. Then I layer cheddar cheese, chiles, lean roast beef (I do buy deli roast beef, but only GOOD real roast beef at the deli counter- you know, the kind that is really made from beef and not cobbled together with bits and pieces of beef that are glued together. Softened butter coats the outside, and then 99% of the time, I sprinkle them with some finely grated parmesan cheese. The 1% of the time that I don’t, it’s because I happen to have run out of it. Otherwise, it’s a big YES. Put this on a grill pan, or a Panini press, get it nice and toasty and, yep…it’s all good.

California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich

California Chile Roast Beef Sandwich

*The recipe is for two, but can easily be multiplied.


  • 4 slices sourdough French bread
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound roast beef, thinly sliced
  • 2 - 4 roasted California chiles (can be fresh roasted, or canned) seeded and sliced
  • 2 - 4 slices cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp, your choice)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (optional, but good)


Step 1

Place the bread on a clean surface, layer one side with the roast beef, cover with the chilies and cheese. Close to make a sandwich.

Butter both outsides of the bread with the softened butter. Sprinkle one or both sides with the parmesan cheese.

Step 2

Heat a skillet, grill pan or panini press to medium-high. Put the sandwiches on and cook until lightly browned (place a plate on the top if cooking in a skillet or griddle to form a press); when browned, turn and repeat on the other side. Cut in half and serve.

Step 3

LindySez: If making this sandwich with the optional parmesan crust, it is best to make it in a flat surfaced not ridged pan as this will keep the cheese evenly cooked on the outside of the bread.

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Robyn @ simply fresh dinners on October 10, 2014

    When I saw the title of this dish, I had to come over! This looks and sounds fabulous, Lindy! I’ve never thought of adding chiles – delicious!

    • posted by LindySez on October 10, 2014

      Thanks for stopping by Robyn. They do make a tasty addition! Cheers ~ Lindy

  2. posted by Henry Schwindt on November 3, 2019

    Yes, I sorely miss the Carl’s JR California Roast Beef and the old foot long chili cheese dogs with the single hot pepper on it! Even after Carl;s killed them off the menu they could still be found at the headquarters in Anaheim (80’s).

    Thanks for the recipe! Added a bit of mayo mixed with horse radish.


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    29g (14g Sat, 11g Mono, 1g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Nutritional information is provided for your good health but may not be 100% accurate, but it's pretty darn close

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