Thanks so much all! Now we can make our own french dips. I know, the scratch Au Jus is best but…
Joe-I think the Knorr au jus is the best of the dry mixes i have tried….I always add a touch of salt, pepper and garlic to mine to dress it up a bit.And as said before-good roast beef and rolls are key…
Here are some sources (and pictures) of "home size" mixes for you:
Knorr Au Jus mix from Foodlocker.com:
Au Jus mix from Sutton s Bay Trading Company:
Au Jus mix from The Great American Spice Company:
I’ve always known what a French Dip sandwich was–they’re offered locally and everyplace I’ve ever been–but had never had one until a year or so ago. I tend not to eat roast beef unless I can see it. Hate fat or gristle on it. I also had not eaten French onion soup because it never looked very good to me.
A friend took me to her favorite restaurant where the French Onion Soup is the featured item, and the rest is history. I love that stuff! And the French Dip sandwich! Even better!
Neither of these items has anything to do with gravy. The base for the French Onion soup is deliciously seasoned beef broth, as is the dipping sauce (Au Jus) for the sandwich. The melted cheese atop the crouton floating on the soup (if you’re lucky, the crouton is actually resting on all the onions) is usually Gruyere, I understand. I haven’t tried to make the soup or dipping sauce yet, but I think I’ll start with ShortChef’s version above.
Recently my son’s fiance invited me to go with her to look at wedding dresses. We drove about 2 1/2 hours to the city and she’d been getting in and out of those remarkably heavy dresses (even the ones in her size 2) for awhile when she got very quiet.
She asked me to help her get out of the latest dress (the attendants had been helping her up to this point. I should have known something was up) and I was standing behind her unhooking the millionth hook when she fainted dead away. I caught her midfall and laid her on the carpet. Not sure I’ve ever seen a face as white as that.
When she came to and I could see that she was going to live, I suggested we take a break and get some lunch. Another young woman who was also trying on dresses told me that she has seen three girls faint in bridal shops just since she herself got engaged. If you accompany someone to shop for a wedding dress, take along some crackers and cheese and a bottle of cool water.
At the restaurant, my future daughter-in-law picked like a bird at her pasta and explained that she was so hot in those dresses that she could barely breathe. She also hadn’t eaten since the day before. I was just so relieved to see the color come back into her face. I ordered a French dip but was completely unable to eat it due to residual shock, I guess. I sure hope I can eat the next one I order. LOVE those things.
Next day I had lunch with my son. I asked if he wanted to know how his fiance looked in her dress (she DID find THE DRESS when we went back after lunch). He said "NO! Isn’t that bad luck?" and laughed. I told him this much: she looked like a cross between a fairy princess, a second grade girl having her First Communion, and an angel.
Re the Hot Beef…. My location (1965 or so) was Eastern Mass- (I-95 Hojo’s). I have seen them on diner menus since, but not ordered one.
HoJo’s served the Hot Turkey openfaced with a spoonful of stuffing under the meat and gravy over the sandwich and potato.
The Hot Beef was a "closed" (2 pieces of bread) with gravy over the whole thing and the potato also. If you were lucky the meat was thick cut…but often it was very thin and ‘scarce’. Lots of folks ordered FF instead of Mashed and cup of extra gravy for dipping the FF.
I use the beef paste concentrate (Costco has it, McCormick brand), a little red wine, and some garlic, along with fresh cracked pepper. A couple of teaspoons of the concentrate will make 2 cups; use about 1/4 cup of red wine and a clove of crushed garlic, add pepper to taste. This is the best sauce I know of, almost a true au jus.[:p]
I have tried bullion and broth with not quite the right results. Maybe there is a trick as to how to season it?
Adj, is the Knorr called an "au jus" mix? I have heard someone makes one that comes in a jar but have not found it. The key to great French Dip is good beef, good bread, and the right dipping juice. I just can’t get the "au jus" quite right.
In some parts of the midwest they will put the mashed potatos directly on top of the sandwich,then pour the gravy over the whole thing.This is called "Beef Manhattan".
Also. Au Jus sandwiches usually served with sliced rib roast or lean round.
Open-faced usually rump roast sliced thick. Don’t forget heaping mounds of mashed ‘taters served with same gravy and obigatory side of usually green beans and/or collards/turnip greens. [:o)]
OK, Let’s see if I have the images correct.
A French Dip Sandwich- Thin sliced Roast Beef, dipped in ‘au jus’ liquid, inserted in a cut, crusty roll similiar to a smaller sub roll. No other condiments. Served with a small cup of the ‘Au Jus’ liquid for dipping as you consume the sandwich. (hand-held)
A Hot Beef Sandwich- two pieces of white bread, Thin sliced Roast Beef. Sandwich cut in half and smothered with brown gravy. Mashed potato, the side of choice, also gravy covered. Utensils needed to eat this.(This is how Hojo’s did it, and appears in many ‘Diner’ menus)
A Pit Beef Sandwich– (Baltimore Specialty)- Description varies. I will hold for a local from that area to describe this one.
Knorr make a good mix, also.
Go to your local grocery and buy some beef bullion cubes, put one or two in a cup of water and slowly bring to a boil. Or you can get cans of beef stock, you might have to water that down some.
Ancient Mariner, around here it’s not a gravy, but a liquid thin AuJus. Could be there are actually some variations via regions..
If only I could make or buy that diping sauce I could just buy some good deli rost beef and….
the ancient mariner
To me it has always been a hot roast beef sandwich with gravy. Never knew it by it’s formal name. Asking for a hero in Boston only got you a "Hey, what’s a hero" look. In Brook-a-leen, NY a Sub was a boat that went under water, and a hoagie was a blue horse of a different color entirely. A rose by any other name is a rose, is a rose, is a rose———-and forever the name French Dip will be etched in my memory as a great sam-itch.
Thanks Brother Hoffman you hit the nail on the head !!! Au Revoir, toot-sweet, and hos-de-la-vista
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