One of my favorite sandwiches of all times is a French Dip Po-Boy. This sandwich is made with tender roast beef, sautéed onions and melted cheese. Flavorful beef broth or “au jus” is served for dipping the crusty French bread sandwich. You can’t find a better po-boy that this one. It has been awhile since I’ve made these sandwiches, but I’m in the spirit. Plus, it is football season – again – and these sandwiches make an easy game day meal. Just “grap and go.” I “downsized” the sandwiches by using small pistolette rolls to make “sliders” rather than large po-boys.
Instant Pot to the rescue
I confess that the stumbling block to making this recipe for my cooking experience has always been cooking the roast beef. It can take hours to cook a roast in a slow cooker or in Dutch oven on the stove. The roast is delicious when slow cooked, but I prefer meals which cook quickly. Perhaps I should be named “chef in a hurry.”
To achieve this goal, I am got out my trusty Instant Pot once again. The roast beef cooked in about an hour by setting the Instant Pot to the “Pressure Setting.” Plus, there was no fuss using the Instant Pot. Just leave the little appliance alone while the roast beef au jus happily cooked leaving me to tend to other things.
My recipe is an easy solution for a seemingly complicated dish. I have to brag; the result is flavorful, tender roast beef and an incredibaly well seasoned “au jus” for dipping. The broth may actually may be the best part of this dish and it can be served as beef consume soup if you wish. Plus, the ingredients are ones which are commonly found in a kitchen — no need to hunt for exotic ingredients.
The French Dip Sandwich is a uniquely American creation. The title refers to French bread and not to a sandwich with French origin. It appears to have been created in the 1960’s in California and has since spread across the country. The sandwich is always served with “au jus” for dipping. This beef broth adds flavor to the concoction — and also makes the bread soggy! Melted cheese is usually added to the sandwich. For cheese, I like “melt-in-your-mouth” provolone cheese. (Pickles are optional, but add to the flare of the sandwich.) I added lots of caramelized onions to my sandwiches.
Flavorful Roast Beef
The roast beef for this sandwich should be so tender that it literally falls apart. You need a flavorful cut of beef for this recipe. I tried several pieces of beef and like boneless chuck roasts and top sirloin roast/steaks the best. These are rather “tough” cuts of beef. However, when cooked in a crock pot, Dutch oven or Instant Pot for several hours with some sort of broth or moisture, the beef becomes tender and flavorful.
In one trial, I tried using a rump roast — this cut of beef comess from the rear end of the steer. It wasn’t so tender. I’ll keep to a boneless chuck roast which comes from the shoulder of the beef or a top sirloin roast/steak for this recipe.
Making the Recipe
The recipe contains lots of ingredients to boost the flavor of the “au jus.” I used a high quality beef stock for the base for the “au jus.” My preference is Swanson brand of Unsalted Beef Stock. The seasonings are onions and garlic, salt and pepper. Plus, I added thyme, bay leaves, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, red wine and just 2 drops of Tabasco sauce. Yes, it is an assortment of seasonings. However, they work together and I wouldn’t omit any of these ingredients. You will have the best seasoned roast beef around.
To make this recipe, season the beef roast with salt and pepper. Add a little oil to the Instant Pot liner and sear well on both sides using the Sauté Setting, High Temperature for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. The roast should be nice and brown. (If using a crock pot, sear in a heavy pot on the stove.) Here is the boneless top sirloin steak. It weighted 1-1/2 pounds.
Here is the boneless chuck roast. It weighted 3-1/4 pound.
After the roast is seared, remove it and add lots and lots of sliced onions and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until wilted.
Add a one cup of stock to deglaze the pan and then add all the seasoning ingredients. Layer the beef roast on top, pour on one additional cup of beef stock and two bay leaves.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. Set the vent to seal. Set the Instant Pot to “Pressure Setting.” Set the time to one hour for the smaller 1-1/2 pound boneless sirloin steak. I cooked the larger 3 pound chuck roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the time is is finished, quick release the pressure. Remove the roast, strain out the onions from the broth. Pour the beef broth into a container for using as the “au jus.” Shread the roast and get ready to make sandwiches. The sirloin steak is very lean, but if using a chuck roast, you can decant off excess fat using a fat separator.
We are fortunate in southern Louisiana to have great, crusty New Orleans French bread. The Leidenhemer brand is my favorite. In addition to French bread loaves, the company sells these 4″ length pistolette rolls. Just right for my “sliders.”
To make these sandwiches, first toast the bread. Yes, these small, course and airy rolls still need to be toasted to make them crusty. Since I was making a batch of six sandwiches, I split and buttered the rolls and toasted them in the oven. Alternately, use a toaster oven. (A microwave oven won’t work for this step.) Then I added Provolone cheese and toasted a little longer to melt the cheese.
The final step is to add the shredded roast beef and caramelized onions.
Ready to eat. Serve with “au jus” for dipping. And a pickle for garnish.
This is an easy recipe for making tender, flavorful beef roast. My Instant Pot definately shortened the cooking time which was a game changer for me. However, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, this is still a great recipe. Just get out the crock pot and use the same process or use a Dutch oven and cook on the stove. Set the temperature and time accordingly for these cooking methods. Use your own experience here; a crock pot will probably take about 3 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the roast and whether or not you use the “low” or “high” temperature setting.
Enjoy all the football games this fall. I am loving my “French Dip Sliders.”
French Dip Sliders Au Jus in the Instant Pot
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1-1/2 lb boneless beef top sirloin steak*
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 3 medium onions, sliced (about 4 cups, sliced)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups beef stock, divided
- 1/2 cup red cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 drops Tabasco pepper sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 (4″ length) pistolette rolls
- margarine or butter for buttering rolls
- 6 slices Provolone cheese
- dill pickle spears, if desired
Method and Steps:
- Add 20 minutes to Instant Pot “Sauté” Function, “High” temperature. When the Instant Pot is heated, add the oil.
- Pat the top sirloin steak dry and lightly season one side with salt and black pepper. Place the seasoned side of the sirloin steak down in the Instant Pot. Sear for approximate 5 minutes until deep flavor and brown color is developed.
- Salt and pepper the side which is up. Turn so this side is facing bottom of Instand Pot and sear it for about 5 minutes. Remove the sirloin steak from Intant Pot and transfer to a plate.
- Add the sliced onions and garlic cloves. Stir and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add one cup of the beef stock, and stir the brown bits of meat off bottom of pot to deglaze.
- Add the red wine, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and thyme. If desired, add two drops of Tabasco pepper sauce — you don’t need alot. Stir to combine all these ingredients..
- Place browned sirloin tip steak back in Instant Pot and nestle on top of onions.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup of beef stock around the sirloin steak. Do not mix in.
- Cancel any remaining time left on the “Saute” function.
- Drop 2 bay leaves into the broth around the roast.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and lock. Make sure pressure valve is set to seal. Set Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” and time to “One Hour.” Temperature should remain set at “High” setting automatically.
- After one hour, quick release pressure. Using cooking mitts, remove lid of Instant Pot.
- Remove meat to a bowl and shred meat using two forks. Add a little of the au juice sauce to the meat to flavor and moisten it.
- Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove onions and set aside in bowl.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Pour au jus into a second bowl to use. If needed, use a fat separator to remove top layer of fat.
To Assemble Sandwiches:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Split pistolette rolls lengthwise and lay on baking sheet.
- Spread cut surfaces of rolls with margarine (or butter).
- Toast rolls in oven for about 5 minutes until margarine (or butter) is melted and rolls are beginning to toast.
- Place a slice of Provolone cheese on one half of each roll.
- Place in oven until the cheese begins to melt.
- Remove from oven, layer second half of each roll with shredded beef and onions.
- Service sandwiches with au juice sauce on the side for dipping.
- Garnish with dill pickle spears, if desired.
*Note: May substitute a 3-1/4 lb boneless chuck roast for the sirloin tip steak. Increase pressure cooking time to 1 hour and 30 minutes. This makes 12 – 18 sandwiches.