French Dip Sandwich

Budget Bites: 15-Minute French Dip Sandwiches

A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a warm sandwich made with thinly sliced roast beef on a French roll or baguette. Although it’s commonly served with cheese, onions, and a side of broth for dipping, this wasn’t the original presentation when the sandwich was first introduced in 1908.

French Dip Sandwich

 

Philippe The Original is one of the oldest and best known restaurants in Southern California. Philippe’s was established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, who claimed the distinction of having created the “French Dipped Sandwich.”

One day in 1918, while making a sandwich, Mathieu inadvertently dropped the sliced french roll into the roasting pan filled with juice still hot from the oven. The patron, a policeman, said he would take the sandwich anyway and returned the next day with some friends asking for more dipped sandwiches. And so was born the “French Dipped Sandwich.”

While a French Dip is typically served plain, a popular variation includes cheese, onions, and a side of beef broth (known as au jus). The sandwich is an American creation, and its name likely refers to the style of bread rather than any French origin.

Philippe The Original, located on Alameda St., in Los Angeles, continues to this day turning out the world’s best French dips at a current menu price of $11.50, plus added cheese.

Can’t make it to Southern California to indulge in the original, the quintessential French Dip Sandwich? No worries. You can make our copycat Philippe’s French Dips at home in just 15 minutes and that’s no exaggeration, thanks to a few clever shortcuts. It’s one of my best quick meals and I promise, there are never leftovers. These sandwiches are so good!

French Dip Sandwich
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5 from 3 votes

15-Minute French Dip Sandwiches

Can't make it to Southern California to dine on the most famous, original French Dip? No worries. You can make Philippe's French Dips at home in just 15 minutes and that's no exaggeration, thanks to a few clever shortcuts. It's one of our favorite quick meals and I promise, there are never any leftovers. These sandwiches are so good!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Anytime
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 445kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot peeled, chopped or sliced (or small sweet onion)
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cooking sherry (SEE NOTE 1)
  • 2 (10.5 oz cans) beef consomme (Campbell's Beef Consommé is in the soup aisle right next to beef broth)
  • 1 ½ pounds deli sliced roast beef (or any leftover cooked beef—chuck roast, prime rib, etc)
  • Grill seasoning like Kinder's Steakhouse or Montreal Steak Seasoning (or coarse salt and pepper)
  • 4 French rolls, split (or baguette, torpedo, any similar sturdy sandwich roll)
  • cheese, optional (Swiss, Provolone, Cheddar, etc.)

Instructions

  • Place butter in a large skillet over medium heat and allow to melt. Add chopped shallot (onion) to saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add flour to the butter mixture, stir to incomporate. Allow cooking for one more minute, stirring continuously.
  • Whisk in the sherry. (SEE NOTE 1)
  • Pour the two cans of consommé into the skillet, in a slow stream, all the while whisking to keep skillet contents moving. (SEE NOTE 2)
  • Lower stove temp to simmer.
  • On a cutting board, spread out the cooked beef. Even though already seasoned when it was first prepared, lightly re-season now with the grill seasoning or coarse salt and pepper.
  • Set out 4 plates and 4 ramekins or small cups for dipping sauce.
  • Using tongs, dip the beef into the au jus sauce allowing it to get warm, then pile it into the four rolls and place on the plates.
  • Optionally, add cheese. (SEE NOTE 5)
  • Pour remaining au jus into the ramekins or cups and serve along side the sandwiches.
  • Recipe inspired by Rachael Ray. Nutrition calculation is an estimate for one sandwich. Your outcome may vary depending on your exact ingredients.

Notes

NOTE 1: The cooking sherry is really the silent star of this show. It's flavor loses distinction, becoming even undetectable. The sherry adds the sought-after depth of flavor you want in these French Dips. If you run out, don't worry—you may have reasonable substitutes in your pantry: drinking sherry, brandy, sweet wine, dry vermouth. The non-alcohol substitute for this recipe would be 3 tbsp Chicken Stock plus 1/2 tspn lemon juice. But if at all possible, cook with sherry. It's inexpensive by the way. Just $1.99 for 12 oz Kroger brand at my supermarket. 
NOTE 2:  Do not dilute the beef consommé, even though the label indicates that it is concentrated. Why beef consommé? It is a more refined and concentrated version of beef broth—an intensely flavored liquid. I find Campbell's Beef Consommé in the soup aisle next to the cans of Beef Broth—as I write, $1.89 per 10.5 oz can. 
NOTE 3: If your rolls are very soft, you may want to toast them cut side up under the broiler, just until they begin to turn brown. This will tighten the sandwich, not allowing the super soft roll interior to become overly soggy. If you are using baguette, toasting may not be necessary. 
NOTE 4: It's up to you if you wish to dip the cut sides of the rolls into the au jus or not. It is a personal preference, but for the record, yes Philippe's dips the bread. Always has. In our family we find that both dipping the rolls and then dipping again in the ramekin is overkill. Too soggy! We prefer to not dip the rolls, but instead, dip the sandwich one bite at a time. 
NOTE 5: Even Philippe's now offers cheese as an add on to its French Dips, although that was never included originally. That should tell you how great it is to add cheese! Should you use this option, you can add cheese alternating with beef as you load up the rolls, or add the cheese to the top of the beef on each half, and place under the broiler for a few seconds to melt. Then proceed. At this point it becomes individul preference. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 2902mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Vitamin C: 77mg | Calcium: 488mg | Iron: 14mg

 

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3 replies
  1. Jennifer German says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! During hunting season my husband spends weekends at the camp and the guys cook together. They grilled steaks over a hardwood fire and and husband brought home leftovers last weekend. I popped them into the freezer until Thursday and decided to try French Dip instead of steak salad or steak and potato hash. I bought a baguette stick from Aldi ($1.79!), a shallot and the recommended Campbells Beef consommé (BOGO) and used a Marsala left over from another recipe. I was slightly dubious about commercially-made consommé but followed the recipe and everything was delicious! We’ll be grilling extra steak to make this delicious meal from now on 🙂 Thank you, Mary!

    Reply
  2. Kim says:

    Sounds so good. I know we can find gluten free ciabatta. Do you know of a gluten free alternative to the beef consommé ?

    Reply
  3. Jill Trobaugh says:

    5 stars
    Good idea. I like this recipe. Here in Washington state we have the Johnny’s brand AuJus. However it can be hard to find. This is a great resource to try. I prefer ciabatta rolls as they are more sturdy. I haven’t tried cheese. That will happen.
    This is my favorite sandwich, hands down. Happy New Year!

    Reply

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