Today I’m sharing one of my favorite slow cooker recipes, French Dip Sandwiches. I’m going to be honest. These French Dip Sandwiches rock! They’re hearty, full of flavor, and bubbling over with cheesy goodness. The dipping au jus is savory and has the potential to dribble down your chin when you bite into the sandwich. If I didn’t have a ladylike reputation to maintain, I’d eat three in one sitting and swallow every drop of au jus. Truly I would.
When you read my recipe, you’ll notice that it instructs you to season and sear the beef and saute the onions before adding them to the slow cooker. I hear your astonished murmerings.
“Searing and sauteing? Really?! That just adds extra steps.”
“Can’t I just toss everything into the slow cooker and let it cook?”
“I thought slow cooking was supposed to be easy!”
Yes, sauteing and searing will add a small additional step and perhaps another dirty pan. And, yes, you could certainly just toss everything into the slow cooker and end up with a good meal. However, if you want a stellar meal, I highly recommend the searing and sauteing.
Why sear and sauté? First, I find that searing the meat carmelizes it a bit and gives the meat an additional depth of flavor. In addition, sauteing the onions ups their flavor too and snatches up all those tasty meat bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. (The official culinary term for this “scraping up of tasty bits” is deglazing.) Finally, searing and sauteing gives the beef and onions an appetizing color.
Now that we’ve taken care of all of that, let’s get to the good part…the recipe!
French Dip Sandwiches
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 pound roast
steak seasoning, to taste
2 medium onions, sliced
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 packet onion soup mix
1 packet dry Italian seasoning mix
long hoagie/sub/torpedo rolls
cheese slices (We prefer Provolone but Swiss tastes great as well.)
Add oil to a large skillet and bring it up to medium heat. While the oil heats, trim the roast of excess fat and season the roast with steak seasoning.
Sear the roast on all sides. Remove the roast from the skillet and place it in the slow cooker.
Add the onions to the skillet and season them with a bit of steak seasoning. Saute the onions until they become soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to the slow cooker.
Add beef broth, onion soup mix, and dry Italian seasoning mix.. Cook on low for 8 hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, shred the roast using forks. Allow the meat to rest in the slow cooker and absorb more of the juices.
When ready to serve, slice open the rolls and place them on a broiler safe pan. Add a generous serving of beef and onions to one side of each roll.
Place a slice (or two or three!) of cheese on top of the beef. Broil for a minute or just until cheese starts to bubble and brown a little. (Watch carefully as the distance between broiled and burned is a short one!)
Remove from broiler and serve. Serve with a small bowl of au jus, the slow cooker juices, for dipping.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Depolo (flickr)
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