Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Not Really French at All...or Is It?


Ever heard of a French Dip Sandwich?  It's a beefy cheesy sandwich served with au jus, which means with juice.  It's like a beef broth to dip the sandwich in.   If you Google the history of the French dip sandwich, you'll find that it's actually an American dish.  The controversy comes in when two different LA restaurants claim to have invented it, Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet and Phillipe the Original.  Phillipe happened to be French.  Both claim to have invented the sandwich.

But I find that the more interesting story is that a policeman came into a restaurant looking for a beef sandwich.  The cook accidentally dropped the sandwich into a pan of au jus. The policeman, being very hungry and not wanting to get the cook in trouble, said he'd take the sandwich anyway.  The policeman loved it, and, thus, a beefy star was born.

No matter who invented it, the sandwich is really good.  This is the first time I've ever made this sandwich with a roast.  In the past, I've only made the sandwich with deli roast beef and dipped it in beef stock.  But I decided to go out on a limb and make a chuck roast in the crockpot and then shred it.  I also made a slightly spicy Horseradish and Garlic Aioli, which is a fancy way of saying mayonnaise.  Let me tell you, these sandwiches were to die for.  The meat was fall-apart tender. The aioli was the perfect companion to the roast.  My husband and kids loved it all.  If you've got some beef-loving fans in your house, this recipe should make them happy.

Time to get your beef on!

FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES
One 4 lb chuck roast
1 onion, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
4 C beef stock
3 T whole peppercorns
1 C red wine
2 T Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil
Sandwich rolls
Horseradish & Garlic Aioli (to follow)
Smoky Provolone or Swiss cheese slices
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
3 T butter
Pinch sugar

Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a crockpot.  Add in the onion, garlic, roast, beef stock, peppercorns, wine, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat falls apart.

When the meat is tender, remove it from the crockpot and cover with foil.  Strain the cooking liquid and reserve the liquid for the au jus.  Shred the meat.

For the caramelized onions and peppers, melt the butter in a skillet or a pot with a lid.  Add in the peppers, onions, pinch of sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the lid and cook on high for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the peppers and onions are caramelized.

Preheat the broiler.  Spread some of the Horseradish & Garlic Aioli into the sandwich buns.  Add in some of the shredded meat, onions and peppers, and top with cheese slices.  Place the sandwiches in a casserole pan and broil only long enough to melt the cheese.  Serve the sandwiches with dipping bowls of the au jus.


This is a great homemade mayo that goes great on sandwiches, pot roasts, or even prime rib.

HORSERADISH & GARLIC AIOLI (MAYONNAISE)
2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
3 T prepared horseradish
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
1 T white vinegar
1 C vegetable oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor except the vegetable oil.  While the machine is running, very very slowly stream in the oil.  This takes a little time, but it won't work if you pour the oil too fast.  This keeps for about a week in the fridge.

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