Apr 9, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches

I have a short but checkered history with crockpots, though I admit that the blame for my early failures rests largely with me. In one case, I made pot roast in my crockpot, complete with the roast, veggies, and gravy. The recipe turned out fine, I think, but as I was transporting my crockpot meal to a gathering of friends, carefully steadying the container as I drove, I reached a point where I thought I had made it safely to my destination, and so I let go of the crockpot to pull into a parking space. However, in making the final turn, the crockpot somehow tipped over (why do they often have only three legs?) and the entire contents spilled all over my car floor. And in another instance, I used my crockpot to try a new recipe for Lime Chicken that had been recommended by a friend. I was so excited by the prospect that I made a whole crockpot full of Lime Chicken. But for whatever reason, the chicken was inedible. It was so awful that I couldn't even force myself to eat a single piece, and I ended up throwing the whole batch away. Ugh.

However, my luck with crockpots may have recently turned. One of my first successes was Pulled Pork. And now another success--French Dip Sandwiches! Yum! Plus I'm happy to report that this recipe is as easy as can be. It comes from my friend Elisa, who in turn got it from Our Best Bites. Give it a try!

1 2 1/2 to 3 pound beef roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
2 cups water
2 14.5 ounce cans beef broth
6-8 large buns, halved (or more...6 would be VERY generous servings!) (also, use a good quality bun; that makes a big difference)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper. When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly to add flavor and seal in the juices. Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast. Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, take it out of the crockpot and shred with a fork. Keep the leftover juices to use as the dipping sauce.

Spread the halved buns face up on a baking sheet and butter them lightly, if desired. Top the bottom bun with shredded meat and cheese and broil the buns open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty. Ladle the sauce into small cups for dipping and enjoy!