Friday, September 16, 2016

French Dip, Baby Dip. Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker


We've had these French Dip sandwiches several times over the course of about two months. They are so easy to make and we all, aside from Pixie, really enjoy them. Pixie prefers to eat every component but the onions separate. I am not even sure if I can call that a win or not. These sandwiches are not medium rare/rare beef sliced and served with Au Jus. That's a whole other post that you can use this here beef for. Making the Au Jus from any pan drippings, but like I said, that's a whole other post. This sandwich has a slow cooked, all day tender, juicy beef. I top the beef with caramelized onions, and gooey cheese after I slather butter and horseradish mayonnaise sauce on the crusty rolls.
DROOOLLL...
The beef for these sandwiches can be made in a pressure cooker, I use an Instant Pot so the directions are for that brand electric pressure cooker. You can also make them in a slow cooker, I have done both. You know, for educational purposes.

Use your favorite beef stock or bone broth for this, I make my own with beef bones, vegetables, 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaf. I cook it on MANUAL, HIGH, 240 minutes. I freeze it in ice cube trays and in 2 cup portions. Find more Freezer Tips here.


The onions can be made a few days prior. They do take 45 minutes to 55 minutes. But I promise it is worth it. They are naturally sweet, and flavorful from the ghee/butter. I go low and slow, I guess a medium low on my burner for the onions.


Slice the onions about 1/8" thick, just make sure it's uniform. I've sliced with a mandoline and with a knife. Both works, less dishes to wash if it's just a knife and cutting board in my opinion. I have used butter with a little oil, ghee, and bacon grease for caramelized onions. I like butter/oil, or ghee combination for most applications, since the flavor is more subtle than bacon grease. But the bacon grease is tasty also.


You'll start off with what looks like a ton of onions. Sadly once they cook down, that will not be the case. So don't panic, it'll be fine. In the end you may wish you'd made more to eat as a French Onion soup with any extra Au Jus you might have.


This is how dark I like my onions. If they are still pale and hold their shape they are more like a saute or pan fried onion. Still the caramelized onions should be in strips, and not disintegrate once cooked. That would be overdone. 


Even if you don't see anything at the bottom of your pan when the onions are finished cooking, deglaze it. There's flavor there and you want it all. You can also make these and use them for French Onion soup. 


For the meat in these sandwiches. I have used brisket and chuck. Both work well, my chuck had more fat so I had to skim it off the Au Jus. But it was also more tender. So trimming extra visible fat off, and using a well marbled piece of beef works best.
Choose your favorite cheese, I've used Swiss and provolone. For horseradish mayonnaise, mix some prepared horseradish into your preferred mayonnaise or buy a horseradish mayonnaise. A good crusty roll or baguette is a must.
It seems like a lot of steps for a slow cooker, pressure cooker meal. But it all comes together quickly, if you make the onions ahead of time this can be a great weeknight meal. I also make extra to keep in the freezer for a really quick meal.

Best French Dip, Baby Dip


Beef and Au Jus

5 lb well marbled roast, such as chuck roast or brisket - trimmed of large pieces of fat
1-2  tablespoon bacon grease, ghee, or oil
3 cups beef stock or bone broth, unsalted or low sodium
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
6 ounces sliced mushrooms(optional)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning, optional
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tablespoons soy sauce 
Black pepper
Salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch, to thicken, optional

For the sandwiches:

Crusty roll or baguette
Butter
Sliced cheese
Caramelized Onions (Recipe follows)
Horseradish mayonnaise

Assembling the sandwiches:

  1. Split the rolls, butter them on both sides and toast them under a broiler .
  2. Add a portion of shredded beef, caramelized onions, and a slice of cheese on the bottom slice of each roll.
  3. Place back under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  4. Spread horseradish mayonnaise on the top slice of each roll.
  5. Serve sandwiches with a small bowl of Au Jus for dipping.

Beef with Au Jus

Pressure cooker function:

  1. Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE mode, HIGH.
  2. While that is heating gather your remaining ingredients.
  3. Season roast with salt.
  4. Once the pot is heated add the bacon grease and heat until shimmering.
  5. Brown roast on all sides.
  6. Remove roast and saute mushrooms for about 3 minutes, if using.
  7. Deglaze the pot with red wine or 1/2 cup of stock. Scrape off the browned bits of goodness on the bottom of the pot.
  8. Return the meat and any juices to the pot.
  9. Add remaining ingredients, except corn starch.
  10. Close the lid on the Instant Pot. Turn the knob to SEAL.
  11. Cook on MANUAL, HIGH, for 60-75 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure. 
  12. After the Instant Pot is done cooking, let it NPR (Natural Pressure Release) for 20 minutes.
  13. Skim off fat drippings.
  14. If you like at this point, turn the saute function on to thicken the Au Jus with about a tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of water.
*Quick note, if you cut the beef into smaller steaks before sauteing, you can cook it for less time. Cut it into 2-3 inch pieces and cook for 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker function:

  1. Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE mode, HIGH. 
  2. While that is heating gather your remaining ingredients.
  3. Season roast with salt.
  4. Once the pot is heated add the bacon grease and heat until shimmering.
  5. Brown roast on all sides.
  6. Remove roast and saute mushrooms for about 3 minutes, if using.
  7. Deglaze the pot with red wine or 1/2 cup of stock. Scrape off the browned bits of goodness on the bottom of the pot.
  8. Return the meat and any juices to the pot.
  9. Add remaining ingredients, except corn starch.
  10. Close the lid on the Instant Pot. Turn the knob to VENT.
  11. Cook on SLOW COOKER, MORE/HIGH, for 8-10 hours. 
  12. After the Instant Pot is done cooking it will revert to keep warm for up to ten hours.
  13. Skim off fat drippings.
  14. If you like at this point, turn the saute function on to thicken the Au Jus with about a tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of water.
** If using a regular slow cooker, do steps 1-7 in skillet on the stove. Then cook the ingredients in your slow cooker.

Caramelized Onions 

2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions,sliced thin
1/2 cup stock, wine, or water
  1. In a heavy bottom pan, I like to use a cast iron pan for this, but any frying pan or sauce pan will work.
  2. Heat the pan on medium low, add butter and oil. Let butter melt and start to foam.
  3. Add onions and let them cook, stirring occasionally. This will take about 45- 55 minutes to develop deep brown onions. If they are just light brown they aren't caramelized. 
  4. Once the onions are cooked deglaze the pan with stock, wine, or water.
*If you are using ghee, just use 3 tablespoons and no oil.
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