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Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich

French Dip Sandwich

If you’ve never had a French dip sandwich, you’re missing out. The sandwich starts out with beef that is roasted until extremely tender, which is then thinly sliced and put onto a not-too-crusty roll, either with or without cheese. The juice from cooking the meat is collected, seasoned and poured into a small dish. As you eat the sandwich, you dip each bite into the juices on the side, making the meat extra juicy and getting a huge boost of flavor.

The sandwich is not french at all. The name comes from the fact that it is made with a french roll – a medium sized white bread roll that resembles a baguette with a softer crust and makes good sandwiches in general – and it is dipped into beef juices as you eat it. Dipping does not make the bread soggy, much as dipping a cookie into a glass of milk does not make it soggy as long as you pick up the cookie and eat the milk-soaked bit immediately; prolonged soaking will cause sogginess, but that is why the sandwich is called a dip and not a soak.

I love this sandwich, but not all restaurants do it well, so I’ve been wanting to try and make it at home for some time. I started with an extremely popular recipe from Allrecipes that calls for using a slow cooker to make the meat tender. I used the same technique, but changed some of the flavoring ingredients and used a different cut of beef. The result was amazing. The beef was incredibly flavorful, as was the “au jus” that the recipe produced. I made three huge sandwiches with it but if I had used smaller rolls, I would have been able to easily satisfy 4-6 people. This is definitely a new staple recipe for me.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
approx 3 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast
16-oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 10.5-oz. can condensed French onion soup
6-oz red wine
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese, optional

Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.
Pour beef broth, condensed French onion soup, red wine and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Slow cookers have different time intervals that you can select, so work with your cooker. Depending on how the settings on your slow cooker work, the time will vary. Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. Mine took 7 1/2 hours and was falling apart tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low or very low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls, if using. Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the beef juice* into ramekins or other small bowls and eat everything while it is hot. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.

Seves 4-6.

*Note: If there is excess fat in your au jus, simply pour it from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup and let it stand for about 5 minutes so the fat separates. Skim it off, then pour the juice into serving cups.

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  • Heather
    February 20, 2013

    I have this in my crock pot right now, it smells delicious, can’t wait till dinner. I didn’t put this in till around one so I turned the heat up to high so it can cook till six. I hope it will be ready in time!

  • Jessica
    February 21, 2013

    I see several comments above saying they do not use red wine so what can they subsitute for that. I use a dash of worchester sauce when I do the quick version to french dips. But can not wait to do this when I find the meat on sale.

  • Tammy
    March 2, 2013

    Chuck roast has a distinctive flavor. I personally would try this with either a rump or sirloin roast. I also prefer slices of beef, and with chuck, you’ll end up with either chunks or shredded beef.

  • mj121
    March 3, 2013

    @Chelmo – Alton Brown has done a segment on this, and has shown that no matter how much you cook something, there is always some alcohol that remains. He showed that the longer you cook something, the less alcohol remains, but that there is always some left.

  • Cindy
    March 16, 2013

    Delicious! My husband raved about this, which he rarely does. I sliced the beef thin, added the provolone on ciabatta bread and toasted until the cheese was melted. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • karen
    March 18, 2013

    Folks, for those of you that “don’t drink” or are concerned about serving this to your children because it calls for red wine, understand that the alcohol in the wine EVAPORATES when it is heated. I can assure you it will be gone after 6-8 hours of cooking. If you have ever been out to finer dining establishments, chances are you and your children have already had many foods where wines were part of the ingredients.

  • karen
    March 18, 2013

    mj121…I would completely disagree with you on this subject. The poster who is the chemist is absolutely correct. Alton Brown is a cook and simply a TV personality and his educational background is in drama, not science. While if you ran the food through a lab I guess you could technically say that 100% of the alcohol doesn’t evaporate, however the question is…is it enough to worry about? The answer is no. If that was true, then every restaurant would have to “card” for every dish served that contained alcohol in the cooking process. By the way….your body produces a certain amount of alcohol naturally…every single day.

  • Tiffany
    March 22, 2013

    Made this with a elk roast, which doesn’t have much fat on it and if cooked for too long can have a tendency to get very dry… But with this recipe it was delicious! I love the layers of flavor… Thank you! Btw, I omitted the wine, just because I didn’t have any and didn’t want to run to the store… And it was still delicious.. M m m m 🙂

  • Stacy
    April 4, 2013

    Making it as we speak, in crock pot now 🙂 Can’t wait to try

  • sallygirl7
    May 3, 2013

    It never ceases to amaze me how much cooking critics get up in arms with their opinions. They’ll rate the recipe as ok or great but put a ton of changes in there that they made personally. Geez…just take the time to submit your own will ya ? Hilarious.

  • Lisa
    July 25, 2013

    I made this last night and it was delicious!!! I didn’t realize I was out of red wine until after I started making it so I decided to go without and hope for the best. I was still very good and tender, I can’t wait to try it with the wine. Thanks for posting.

  • Katie
    August 19, 2013

    This is an excellent recipe and so easy! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jenny
    August 23, 2013

    All should give this a try….have been making them for years. With greatest respect for those that do not want to consume alcohol, it cooks out and adds a great flavor…….just as vanilla added to all the sweet treats we eat……it’s made with vanilla beans soaked in vodka or spirit of choice. I made huge amounts for wedding favors, then shared larger bottles with all my cooking friends……..one of whom would not use because of alcohol…..hmmmmm!

  • Adrienne
    September 16, 2013

    I read many of the comments and was debating whether or not to try this recipe. So glad I did! I followed the recipe exactly (maybe added a little extra splash of wine!) and it turned out great. I used eye round roasts (used 2 small ones), and the flavor was great and the meat was very tender. The gravy is perfect for dipping the sandwiches!

  • Lori
    October 22, 2013

    Substitute a tbsp of tomato paste for the wine

  • Katie
    February 7, 2014

    Thank you for this recipe! We make this almost weekly!

  • Zobeida
    August 12, 2014

    Thanks for this recipe! It was delicious. I forgot the red wine, but I don’t think it made a difference for us, the roast was soooo tasty!! We’ll be having this again and again!

  • tPoz
    November 12, 2015

    Made this last night, exactly as the recipe stated & it was DELISH! Hubs & I demolished it. It definitely earned it’s spot in the meal rotation!

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