09.07.11 Heaven On A Bun...

Well, Fall is upon us. The “90 degree before 9:00 a.m.” track record has been broken!! I actually walked my dog without sustaining major fluid loss! In celebration of this momentous day, I wanted to post my favorite new recipe - French Dip Roast!
It comes from one of my Lisa friends and couldn’t be simpler! It’s much like my infamous Sausage Gravy recipe I shared a long time back - it’s going to be permanently filed in my “fail proof” recipe box. Here’s a visual preview of what I’m calling Nirvana On A Bun.
First, pick out a PORK ROAST that will suit your needs. With a 24 oz. roast I can get 6 good sandwiches out of it. I would stick with a non, pre flavored roast and watch the fat marbling stuff. Heck - I have no idea what to call it, but you get the idea. 
Second, pick up a box - with 2 packets - of Lipton ONION SOUP MIX. I’ve used the Beefy Onion variety as well and could not detect any real discernible taste difference. 
Third, hop over to the soup isle and pick up 2 cans (10 1/2 oz each) of Campbell's BEEF BROTH.
You can make this recipe two ways. Full Monty and Lite. The Lite version has less salt because you’re reducing the soup & broth amounts AND diluting it with a bit more water. I’ve used low sodium broth and non Campbell’s brand for other things before and haven’t been impressed with the results, but it is an option. With the Lite version you don’t lose any flavor and it’s just a tad more cost effective to get flavoring for two roasts rather than just one. 
French Dip 
With this version you will get the Full Monty French Dip flavor for all you au-jus lovers. 
  • Turn your crock pot on high.
  • Heat a pan with olive oil to med-high. Salt & pepper your roast. Brown it on all sides.
  • In between browning, add to your crock-pot 2 envelopes of soup mix, 2 cans of beef broth and 2 soup cans of water and stir to combine.
  • When the meat is browned on all sides add it to the crock-pot, place the lid on and forget about it for at least 6 hours. Resist the urge to “check on it” - it’s a mature piece of meat and can take care of itself.
  • After the 6 hour mark, go take a peek. If you can pull it apart easily with a fork it’s ready. 

SIDE NOTE: I know there is a benchmark with meat in which you’re supposed to use a meat thermometer and check the internal temperature, and feel free to do that. But I use the “If it’s not pink, it’s done” method and that seems to have worked just fine with no apparent side effects, food poisoning, or trips to the emergency room. 
French Dip Lite
Change ONLY the flavoring quantities - use 1 envelope of soup mix, 1 can of beef broth and 3 soup cans of water and stir to combine.
Finishing Touches
If you’re serving French Dip sandwiches, I would suggest running the liquid through a strainer (maybe even a cheesecloth) to catch the onion bits - plus it helps to make a clear and “pretty” broth. EITHER WAY YOU COOK IT, KEEP THE BROTH!! Storing the meat in the broth helps it to remain moist and full of flavor. here’s a gem I found. At my local Walmart they bake a Bilillios sub-style bread. They look like sub rolls but are pointed at the ends and fat in the middle. They come 6 to a pack for under $2. There are a million options, so pick what you like. The only advice I’ll offer is to stick with a “sub type” roll and skip the sandwich loaf bread all together. 
Cheese...ah secret. The meat has MUCHO flavor but here’s where you can keep the recipe “spice neutral” for everyone and simply kick YOUR sandwich up. I found Sargento’s Pepper Jack cheese slices and they are potent enough to make a substantial difference in the taste. I’ve used provolone and sharp cheddar - both of which are worthy options, but pepper jack is now my favorite. 
Getting "creative" with the cheese - provolone & sharp cheddar
Brown your bread...can’t stress this enough. Slap some cheese on both sides and stick it under the broiler for a few moments. When it’s all gooey and melty and golden brown, you’re ready to build Heaven On A Bun. If you don’t use/like cheese we are clearly not people who would be friends - but, if you are one of “those” people, you can smear a smidgen of butter on both sides and broil it and SOMEHOW still enjoy your sandwich.  
Side Note: From the above photo you may or may not be able to tell the error of my ways...I left the bread in just a few seconds too long and spent time standing over the kitchen sink using a trick that’s been handed down to women from generation to generation: take a knife and scrape off the burnt parts to remove the charring. Does anyone else remember their Mom doing this? What about the distinct noise made while doing it? Burning toast - it almost seems like a “thing of the past”, doesn’t it? This technique was used most in our house when Mom would make homemade cinnamon bread slices to go with a cup of hot tea for a late night snack. Brush some melted butter over bread slices and sprinkle a sugar/cinnamon mix over it then put it under the broiler for a few moments...pardon me...I must go make this...NOW.
What to serve on the side with the sandwich? While in Houston, my Lisa served it with fresh, sweet corn on the cob and it was heavenly. not as ambitious. I mostly accompany it with chips - Dorito’s if I use a non spicy cheese. Otherwise if you’re using the pepper jack cheese stick with a plain chip. I love flavor in everything I eat, but flavored chips and a spicy sandwich makes for confusion. Stick with plain Sun Chips or Lay’s Original Stax. Regular Lay’s I would imagine would be too greasy. Ah...whatever! 
If you try the French Dip recipe and find it as delightful as I have, please tell me about it!  Let me know what you served as a “side dish” as well. If you tried this recipe and didn’t enjoy it - we simply can’t be friends. :) Just kidding. Did you do something different to change the flavor - did you use the meat for something else? Let me know please!! About 3 more roasts in and I might be looking to do something different with it! 
I wonder...if you don’t use all the broth from the Full Monty version, I wonder if you could make a good French Onion soup? Caramelize some onions, find a good white, melty, bold, nutty cheese and make some bread cubes to put below the mountain of cheese then broil it? 
What about using the meat for BBQ sandwiches? Drain off the juice, mix in a good BBQ sauce and heat it up...A friend brought over something that tasted really good but I haven’t tried making it for myself yet. Take a can of croissant rolls, divide each roll and stretch out the dough so it conforms to a muffin tin - like you’re making a “croissant cup”. (Geeze I am lacking words today!!) Add some pre cooked and seasoned BBQ meat to it, top it with cheese and bake it till the croissant is done. 
What about doing something Mexican with it? Maybe add some green chilies to the cooking process, or when it’s done cooking add a can of Rotel? What about pork tacos with a creamy white cabbage slaw mix?
Whatever way you spice up your week, be sure to file this one away for when it gets good and Florida that will be late December when it drops below 85. Not complaining, but just giving you a reference point. Have a great Fall and I’ll be checking back with you soon!! I might revisit my Chocolate Irish Cream Cheesecake recipe...

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