One of the most satisfying sandwiches on many restaurant menus is the proverbial French Dip Sandwich. As a menu standard, it meets all the requirements of a best seller: it is moist, flavorful, and filling. The versatile French Dip Sandwich can be eaten with a side of macaroni salad or potato salad, with a dill pickle or pickled egg, or just by itself (with a touch of Chinese hot mustard for the brave).
The secret to any good French Dip Sandwich is a flavorful au jus to dip the roll. It has to be salty enough to accent the bread and not overpower the meat. I prefer roast beef for my French Dip Sandwich, but roasted leg of lamb, baked ham, roasted chicken or turkey, or roasted pork loin work equally well as long as the au jus matches the flavor of the meat. (I’ve never tried a roasted vegetable French Dip Sandwich, but I suppose a strong vegetable broth could serve as the au jus.)
EASY TO MAKE
What’s so great about a French Dip Sandwich is that it’s so easy to make. A roll, meat, meat juice, and voila, you have lunch. For this recipe, we are assuming you have already roasted the meat, and retained the pan drippings and thinned them with a can of broth, salt and pepper.
French Dip Sandwich
French roll, approximately 6” long
½” to 1” thickness of shaved roast beef
Chinese hot mustard (optional)
Slice the roll in half. Assemble the French Dip Sandwich after deciding if it is to be a single dip or double dip sandwich. If a single dip, place the shaved meat on the bottom half of the roll. With tongs hold the top half of the roll and lightly but evenly dip the roll into the warmed au jus. Don’t let the roll linger or it will become too mushy. Place the dipped roll top onto the meat, cut the sandwich in half, and then serve. For a double dip French Dip Sandwich, lightly dip both sides of the roll and assemble. (Double dips are great for people with chewing issues, but be sure the bread is not too heavily moistened with the au jus, or you’ll end up with goo.) Some people prefer to dip their sandwich in a small cup of au jus as they eat, but my way is better (LOL).
CHINESE HOT MUSTARD
An optional fourth ingredient for the French Dip Sandwich is the addition of Chinese hot mustard. Mix two tablespoons of Chinese hot mustard powder with a little bit of water, adding teaspoons of water one at a time while stirring until a smooth consistency is reached. Each person can add a thin spreading of the Chinese hot mustard to enhance the taste of the French Dip Sandwich, if desired, depending on his or her tolerance for the sinus-clearing Chinese hot mustard.
FAMILY COOKBOOK STORIES
Legend has it that the French Dip Sandwich was invented in Los Angeles in 1918 when a delicatessen owner accidentally dropped a sliced French roll into the pan juices of a roast. His patron, a police officer, came back the next day with friends for an encore, and the rest is history. Stories like the above can add wonderful texture to your family cookbook, making it the story of your own relative or friend. If possible, always try to include a family biography and photos to make your family cookbook more personal. Our software is designed to make it easy, just like the French Dip Sandwich.