because what is life without good food?

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

I think I always want French Dips in the fall. But a French Dip isn’t entirely what I want –what I REALLY want is a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with the onions and peppers piled high and lots of melted cheese oozing all over AND I want that tasty au jus for dipping my cheesesteak sandwich. Most restaurants offer a French Dip with just the meat and the au jus (which is good, but it’s just not quite there!) — or they will give you the Philly Cheesesteak, but they don’t include the au jus! I gotta have the best of both worlds.

And if you want the best of both worlds, sometimes you gotta make it yourself.

(Well, actuallly I find most of the time it’s just better if you make it yourself …)

I tried a lot of other French Dip recipes in my crock pot and I sort of liked them, but found some of them were too salty and others just didn’t have quite enough flavor, so I set out to make my own. I had found this Zaatar seasoning at the World Market and I was curious how it would go in this. Zaatar is a middle eastern seasoning that is strongly scented with thyme and sesame seeds. It adds a lovely flavor to the meat along with the other spices. The garlic mellows as it cooks and permeates the meat beautifully (and makes your house smell heavenly!)

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dipz

For the meat:

  • 3 lb beef or venison roast
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled (yes, the entire head!)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning ( a middle eastern spice) — or if you can’t find Zaatar use 1 teaspoon thyme + a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 15 peppercorns

For the sandwiches:

  • Hard rolls
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • Bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Provolone or other mild white cheese, sliced

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the MEAT into a crockpot and cook on low for 7-10 hours or until the meat is falling-apart tender.
  2. This is the #1 MOST IMPORTANT STEP that I always forget. Take the meat out of the juices and IMMEDIATELY put it in a covered dish and let it rest for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the au jus. (This is so important for sealing the juices into the meat and I am so bad at remembering to do it!)
  3. Strain the liquid & vegies through a strainer, catching the juices in a bowl beneath. Set the liquid aside while you slice the meat. (You can save the strained out cooked vegies for piling on the sandwiches along if you like. I like to do that. The garlic cloves are really tasty especially after cooking in the meat juices all day!)
  4. Now, slice the meat thin — or if it is falling apart too much to slice, just shred it with a fork.

If you just want French Dips, pile the meat on the buns now and enjoy with the au jus! BUT if you want the Philly version, here’s what you do.

  1. Saute the onion and bell pepper briefly in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until the onions are translucent. I usually pour in a bit of the au jus as well while I’m sauteeing–it adds a nice flavor. (I think a few mushrooms tossed in at this point would be sublime, but I never seem to have any on hand when I’m making this!)
  2. Set the bottom half of the rolls on a baking sheet.
  3. Pile the meat on the bottom half of the hard rolls, top with sauteed onions & peppers, then with slices of cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese melts all over the meat. When the cheese is almost melted, toast the top of the buns.
  5. Pull the cheesy meaty buns out of the oven and top them with the toasted “tops”.
  6. Serve with the au jus in little bowls on the side for dipping. With a nice colorful side salad.

Annz Philly Cheesesteak French Dips

The salad on the side is one of my Summer Berry Salads.

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food. I got my daughter to finally TRY the meat (had to bribe her with pictures of fairy houses) and she loved it! She took just a little taste of the meat to start, then a BIG hunk. YES! Now  … do you think I can convince my son to try it? Ah well, probably not.

I am really looking forward to feeding this to my parents this weekend!

This recipe was shared at Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.

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7 responses

  1. You have me craving a french dip sandwich right now!! This looks delicious!

    October 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

  2. This is seriously brilliant. I have always loved both sandwiches but always wonder why they are never combined into one. Sounds perfect!

    October 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

  3. HUGS & COOKIES XOXO

    WOW DOES THIS LOOK GOOOOOOOOD!

    October 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  4. Ann

    Oh thank you so much! It took me a long time to perfect this recipe … :)

    October 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm

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