The history of this sandwich, according to some sources, begins in 1918, in the center of Los Angeles. The owner of the restaurant, a French immigrant Philippe Mathieu, was going to make a sandwich for a local policeman, accidentally dropped a piece of bread into a frying pan with broth. The next day, the policeman brought his friends to the restaurant to order a “wet” sandwich for them. Since then, French dip sandwich has become a regular dish in restaurants. Now beef is replaced with pork, turkey, ham or lamb, and sometimes various cheeses are added to the sandwich. French dip sandwich is always served with “au jus” sauce.
What Is a French Dip?
French dip is really delicious steak sandwich in a large bun. Such a large bun will fit a lot of filling. In the original recipe, only thinly sliced roast beef with a spicy, rich taste is used as a filling. It is laid out in a bun (it should not be too soft), and the sandwich is eaten by dipping it into a sauce.
What Is the Best Cut of Beef to Use for French Dip Sandwiches?
There are a lot of variations of cuts to use in a French dip. Some use beef top round roast, some use roast beef. We suggest using skirt steak or flank steak. An inexperienced person can easily confuse a skirt steak and a flank steak. They are often similar and only an experienced eye will quickly distinguish one from the other. But what if your meat-eating skills are not too great yet?
Skirt steak and Flank steak – these are oblong strips of meat and they are taken from those parts of the cow that perform active work throughout the life of the animal. The skirt steak is the muscle of the cow’s diaphragm, and the flank steak – a cut from the abdominal area of the cow. Both of them are long, strange-looking pieces of beef. That’s why they are so often confused.
It is also worth mentioning that there are two types of steaks called Skirt steak. This is because the cow has two muscles of the diaphragm, external and internal. Hence the two types of Skirt steak. These are Outside skirt, aka Machete, and Inside skirt, which has not received its own separate name since it is rarely served as a separate dish.
We seem to have figured out the location, but what about the taste and consistency?
Both cuts are not so fat in comparison with steaks, such as Rib Eye or Striploin, and have a pronounced beef taste. Since both the Skirt and the Flank contain a lot of muscles involved in active work, both of them can be quite tough if they are prepared incorrectly.
The Outside skirt aka Machete (thin diaphragm) is still more delicate and softer since it consists of less rigid fibers and it is thin in structure. Great for grilling and even for frying pans.
Denser in consistency – Inside skirt and flank steak – will work well with a properly selected marinade. It will soften the fibers and make the meat tender and pleasant to eat.
What Is French Dip Sauce Made Of?
The classic “au jus” sauce that comes with French dip is a beef sauce made by grinding beef broth to a concentrated form (also known as Glace de Viande) to accompany a meat dish. It is usually served with a French dip sandwich.
We suggest making “au jus” according to this recipe:
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of black pepper peas
- 1 tsp of coarse salt
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 large chopped shallot
- 4 tbsp of beef broth
Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add black pepper, salt, garlic, thyme, rosemary and shallots. Cook the onion until it becomes transparent, from 6 to 8 minutes. Add the broth and boil for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve. The sauce should remain warm.
How to Make French Dip Sandwiches
You would need these ingredients for a French dip.
- 4 unsweetened rolls(we suggest hoagie rolls)
- 1 lb of homemade roast beef, cut into thin slices (see the recipe below)
- 8 thick slices of gruyere cheese
- Cress, for serving
- 2 cups of pickled radish
For homemade roast beef:
- 1 tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp of chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp of coarse salt
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 4 lbs of beef (flank or skirt steak)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
Homemade roast beef:
- Preheat the oven to 390°F. In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub the meat with the mixture, then wrap it in plastic wrap and place the meat in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Split the oil in a large heavy frying pan over high heat. Remove excess garlic and spices from the meat, then send it to fry in a frying pan. Fry the roast beef on all sides, for 2-3 minutes. Then put the beef in a roasting pan with parchment. Bake until the thermometer inserted in the center shows 120°F, for about 50 minutes. Put the roast beef on a cutting board and leave for 10 minutes. Cut the meat into thin slices before serving. Product yield: 6-8 servings.
French Dip Sandwich:
Place the bottom parts of the buns on the work surface. Top with homemade roast beef, cut into thin slices. Next, put one slice of gruyere cheese on each sandwich, a little pickled radish and watercress. Cover the sandwich with another part of the bun. Cut the sandwiches into 2 parts and serve with meat gravy, for dipping.
Tips for the Best French Dip
- For a better taste and result, we suggest putting the rubbed meat in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
- Instead of beef broth, you can use beef consumme.
- If you would use not flank or skirt steak, we suggest trimming the excess fat before preparing.
- Don’t forget to save the “au jus” sauce if you have leftovers sandwiches. The sauce is what gives a French dip its delicious and amazing taste.
Can I Prep French Dip in Advance?
You can prepare a French dip sandwich in advance:
- After cooking up roast beef don’t slice
- Refrigerate it for 24 hours
- The next day cook it on low in a crockpot for 1-2 hours
- When it is warm enough slice and let it rest for 20-30 minutes
- Follow the recipe above to make a French dip
How to Store Crockpot French Dip?
We suggest using an airtight container and keep the French dip in the refrigerator. This way it will remain fresh for up to five days.
How to Reheat Slow Cooker French Dip?
The most amazing part of French dip is that it can be reheated a lot of times and still will have its delicious taste.
- In a crockpot:
Сook for 1-2 hours and don’t forget to add some “au jus” to your beef
- In a stove:
Add some ‘au jus’ to your beef and bake in the preheated oven on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the cheese just begins to melt.
- In a microwave:
Add some ‘au jus’ to your beef and put your sandwiches in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a microwave-safe lid. Microwave for 60 seconds, if needed continue to microwave for 30 seconds.
What goes with a French dip sandwich?
- Caramelized onions or onion rings
- Kale Salad
- Potato chips
- French fries, shoestring potato fries, sweet potato fries
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 580
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 8g13%
- Saturated Fat 0g
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 3900mg163%
- Potassium 0mg
- Total Carbohydrate 86g29%
- Dietary Fiber 0g
- Sugars 5g
- Protein 40g80%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.