A French dip is a sandwich. It has thinly sliced beef on a long, white roll. You can dip it in pan juices. The sandwich was an unintentional creation of Philippe Mathieu, a French immigrant in Los Angeles. He established Philippe’s in 1908 and the restaurant has been in business since then. One fine day in 1918 he was preparing a sandwich for a policeman who walked into his shop when he accidentally dropped the sandwich into the pan filled with still hot juice from the oven. The officer said that he’d still eat the sandwich anyway. The following day, the officer returned with friends and asked to have more of the ‘dipped’ sandwich. This was the birth of the “French Dipped Sandwich” which later on evolved into “French Dip Sandwich” or simply “French Dip”. The “French” on the name of the sandwich is still a mystery today. It is not known whether it is called as such because the inventor was French, the sandwich used is French roll, or because the officer’s name was French. “Au Jus” is an expression in French that means “with juice” or “with gravy” or “with broth”. It is a redundancy, however, to say “French dip with au jus” because it would mean “French dip with with broth/juice/gravy”.
The following are steps for making French dip au jus.
- Gather the ingredients. For the sandwich, you will need 1 4lb beef roast, ½ cup black pepper (coarsely-ground), the jus (dipping sauce), butter, and French rolls. For the jus, you will need beef drippings from cooking pan, ½ cup water, 1 can of beef broth, and salt and pepper for the taste.
- Cook the meat. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Get the roast beef and put it in a baking pan. Press the pepper firmly onto the roast. Cook the meat for about 30-45 minutes. Remove the meat and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Slice the meat thinly. Reserve the juice to be used for the dipping sauce.
- Prepare the jus. Combine the beef drippings, water, beef broth, salt and pepper in a saucepan until it boils. Set aside for 10 minutes to let it cool before serving.
- Prepare the sandwich. Cut the French rolls in half. Toast each roll and spread butter. Get kitchen thongs to pick-up meat. Dip the thinly-sliced beef into the pan juice and put it into the rolls. You can also add cheese over the beef and broil it until it turns into brown or bubbles.
You can also use other meat instead of beef. In fact, Philippe’s the Original also has roast pork, turkey, lamb, and ham. They also dip these into their pan juices. And with some French rolls, it is also another version of French dip au jus. You need not go to Los Angeles to treat yourself with a French dip. You can always make one at home. If you are not that good with cooking, have a friend come over to help you. Perhaps he/she can deal with cooking the meat and you with the dipping sauce. After finishing everything, get a few drinks and enjoy your French dip au jus while it’s still hot.