Not Your Average French Dip

Not Your Average French Dip

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Are you down to dip? We’re digging this top-notch spin on a traditional French Dip, created by Jacob Dixon at Mean Sandwich. And of course, it’s served with an au jus side for dipping.


For the jus

  • 2 pounds beef knuckle bones
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the roast beef

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (found in Japanese grocery stores; substitute with 2 teaspoons orange zest, 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds)
  • 1-3 pounds beef top round roast, tied and at room temperature

For the pickles

  • 6 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar

For the sandwich

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • Sliced roast beef, for serving
  • Heinz® Mayonnaise, for serving

Recipe Preparation

For the jus

  • Preheat oven to 450°. Roast bones in oven until caramelized, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer bones to a medium stock pot, cover with 8 cups water, and bring to a boil. Simmer bones on medium-low, uncovered, until the broth is reduced by three-quarters, about 2 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper

For the roast beef

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together salt, sugar, black pepper, and togarashi in a small bowl. Rub beef with salt mixture and oil. Transfer beef roast in roasting pan and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer roast to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before removing kitchen twine and slicing.

  • To slice the beef, use a very sharp slice knife or deli slicer, and cut very thin slices of roast beef. Divide sliced beef into 8 portions.

For the pickles

  • Toss cucumbers and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze well to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Transfer salted cucumbers into a large glass jar and add mustards seeds, turmeric, and chili flakes. Bring vinegar, sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let cool. Carefully pour into jar, filling all the way to the top. Seal jar and chill at least 1 day.

Sandwich Assembly

  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt. Melt remaining butter in large skillet or on a griddle over medium. Toast buns, cut-side down, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes

  • Spread Heinz® Mayonnaise on both sides of each bun, top with sliced roast beef, oyster mushrooms & onions, pickles and frisée.

French Onion Dip

This homemade French Onion Dip mixes sweet caramelized onion with Greek yogurt to make a healthy dip that’s the hit of the party.

This recipe is brought to you by Stonyfield

You see it at every party as the host tries to steer guests out of the kitchen and into the actual party. But people linger, dipping into the appetizer nibbles, and always congregating around the food.

And what’s the favorite at every party? It’s always the chips and dip. Everyone loves a dip. Because what’s not to love?

And there’s pretty much no dip more lovable than an easy, savory, French onion dip. It’s the gateway drug for anyone who claims they don’t like onions. It’s caramelized and sweet, and sturdy enough to take on any veggie or chip.

The only thing better? The fact that this caramelized onion dip tastes better because it’s made healthier with organic Greek yogurt.

10 Best Party Dip Recipes

The Super Bowl is right around the corner but these 10 dips have you completely covered for all of your entertaining needs. From slow cooker to stovetop, bacon to french onion dips, you can’t go wrong here. You just can’t.

1. ​French Onion Dip – Everyone’s favorite French onion soup is transformed into the cheesiest, creamiest dip of all time. One bite and you’ll be hooked. [GET THE RECIPE.]

2. Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip – The broccoli just makes this healthy and guilt-free, right? [GET THE RECIPE.]

3. Cheesy Bacon Spinach Dip – No one will ever turn down a bacon dip with melted cheese. DUH. [GET THE RECIPE.]

4. Beef Enchilada Dip – This meaty, cheesy enchilada dip comes together in just 15 minutes. Boom. [GET THE RECIPE.]

5. 10 Minute Nacho Cheese – Super easy and completely made from scratch (no Velveeta)! It’s cheesy, sharp, smoky, unbelievably velvety and just SO GOOD. [GET THE RECIPE.]

6. Shrimp Scampi Dip – Shrimp scampi in cheesy, creamy dip form – need I say more? [GET THE RECIPE.]

7. Bacon Corn Dip – You won’t even need the chips here. [GET THE RECIPE.]

8. Restaurant Style Salsa – This chunky, restaurant-style salsa comes together in just 5 minutes with the help of a blender. How easy is that? [GET THE RECIPE.]

9. Crab and Artichoke Dip – Crab. Artichoke. And two types of cheeses. Done. [GET THE RECIPE.]

10. Slow Cooker Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Simply throw everything in the crockpot for the easiest, most effortless spinach and artichoke dip ever. Easy peasy. [GET THE RECIPE.]

17 Creative Ways to Make French Fries Without Using a Single Potato

If you’re trying to tell us you don’t like french fries, we have only two words for you: Stop lying. They’re one of the most delicious, delightful foods around—and they go with everything. You’re not allowed to dislike french fries. That’s just not a thing.

That said, it’s definitely fair to hate the calories, fat and salt that come along with fries. (Whoever decided one of the yummiest foods on the planet should also be one of the unhealthiest is totally on my list.)

60 Easy Dip Recipes That Your Party Guests Will Devour in No Time

Whether you&rsquore looking for an easy snack to go with a Friday night Netflix and chill session, hosting a holiday dinner party, or coming up with some easy tailgate recipe ideas, one of the easiest (and tastiest) things you can make is a dip. Dips are great because they can flavor a variety of foods, from crunchy chips, or fries and onion rings, to healthy snacks like carrot sticks or cut pepper slices.

And these dip recipes are exactly what you need to feed anyone from yourself to a crowd in the easiest way possible. Everyone knows that appetizers are the best part of any gathering, and dips are probably in the number-one spot. While you&rsquoll surely have lots of delectable holiday appetizers at your Christmas gathering, why not serve up one of the creamy spinach dips or guacamoles?

Or, consider this year&rsquos Super Bowl party. These buffalo chicken or chicken fajita dips will be a perfect addition to your Super Bowl snacks. Who wouldn&rsquot love dunking a piece of crusty bread or a crunchy tortilla chip into one of these dishes? It doesn&rsquot matter how many people are attending your party, because these recipes are sure to feel a large group of people. And because they&rsquore so simple, you can always make more&mdashand you'll probably want to anyway! They're just that good. Don't forget to serve these party dip recipes up with a batch of themed drinks, like a Christmas cocktail, if you&rsquore having a holiday party. Make one of these dip recipes at your next party and your guests are sure to sing your praises!

If you&rsquore going to take the time to make croissant dough, I highly recommend making pain au chocolat with at least half of the batch.

Croissants are a wonderful pastry, and the buttery goodness is perfect alone or filled with something sweet or savory.

But a pain au chocolat is just so decadent!

Make sure you use the best quality dark chocolate you can find. The cheaper stuff won&rsquot melt the same.

And after all that effort, you don&rsquot want them ruined with sub-par chocolate.

Keeping MSG out of your Super Bowl party (recipe: homemade French onion dip)

Y ou know that super simple, two-ingredient party dip that you make with a tub of sour cream and a box of French Onion soup mix? What would you say if I told you there are over a dozen ingredients in that dip?

I hope your reply would be, “What are they?” with some mixture of surprise and curiosity.

I think it’s important to know what’s in our food, and that’s why I’m not making that dip anytime soon.

Most sour creams have over EIGHT ingredients, when they should only contain three: cream, salt, enzymes. The extras are usually various forms of corn tossed in there as stabilizers, sweeteners, preservatives or flavor enhancers.

Onion soup mix has a similarly long list: onions, salt, cornstarch, sugar, caramel (color), corn syrup solids, yeast extract, natural flavor.

That’s two different names for sugar, plus likely four made of corn, and one that behaves like MSG, a known excitotoxin (yeast extract). MSG is linked in the short term to headaches, nausea and more, and in the long term to psychological decline such as Alzheimer’s and certain digestive ailments. (More on the names behind MSG.)

MSG enhances the flavors of anything it dances with because it activates the fifth basic sense of taste, umami. Umami in its natural state, found in seaweed, is no more harmful than something sweet, salty, bitter or sour. However, activating umami with chemicals acting as free glutamic acid can wreak havoc on many body systems by overstimulating our glutamate receptors.

MSG is an unfortunate enemy in the battle for real food, because it’s really, really difficult to replicate the old familiar flavor of dishes relying on this chemical. You’re playing one card short in the deck.

In the case of that box of Onion Soup mix, I fought to find a suitable substitute for over two years. I finally discovered the secret weapon: onions.

No, my strategy wasn’t to cut onions and make my eaters cry while they ate and force them to claim they loved the food.

What’s the key to bringing out amazing, slightly sweet, beyond-the-four-taste-sensations flavor in an onion?
Caramelize it.

Cooking sliced or diced onions in some fat or oil for 20-30 minutes, or as long as it takes to get brown and sticky, is a skill worth learning if you want to cook from scratch. (And you should! Did you see all those weird ingredients up there?)

It also makes you feel like a super chef, because just saying “caramelize the onions” sounds way too hard for your average home cook.

I’m excited to share a recipe with only NINE ingredients for a homemade French Onion Chip Dip from my new eBook, Better Than a Box. Just in time for Super Bowl parties, you can make a healthy, homemade dip without any mystery ingredients.

Recipe: Homemade French Onion Dip


1 C. diced onion
4 TBS. butter
1 C. sour cream
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. celery seed (or celery salt)
optional: dash to ¼ tsp. cayenne


Melt the butter in a heavy pan, then sauté the onions over medium to medium-high for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to medium-low for about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally and cook until browned and smelling amazing. The onions will have reduced to about 1/3 cup.

Allow to cool, but not in the refrigerator (the butter will harden too much).

Mix with the sour cream and all the spices. Yes, scrape the butter out of the pan. Yummy. Allow at least an hour for the flavors to blend, and serve at room temperature if possible with chips or vegetables.
Store in the refrigerator.

I recommend Daisy or Aldi brand sour cream, because I know they contain only three ingredients: cream, salt, enzymes. If you want something even less processed, you can make homemade yogurt and strain it to be extra thick like Greek yogurt, or a bit longer to become yogurt cheese. Use either in place of the sour cream.

This recipe is one of twenty that I reverse engineered in Better Than a Box: How to Transform Processed Food Recipes into Whole Foods Favorites. I don’t only share the recipe, but I walk you through the whole process of how I got from sour cream + soup mix to the real food ingredients above. Although there are 60 recipes total, it’s much more than just a cookbook it’s a teaching tutorial on cooking from scratch, storing food for later, and keeping your sanity in the kitchen while being efficient so you can get out of the kitchen.

Through February 5, 2012, Simple Mom readers can take 25% off the price of the PDF download, which is bundled with the Kindle and Nook files, as well as free printable recipe cards, a freezer supply list, how to cook dry beans printable and other handy dandy charts and tips. Use the code SIMPLE_NO_BOX25 right HERE. Better Than a Box is also available for Kindle on Amazon.

Step 1
Step 2

Heat the soup and water in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot.

Step 3

Pat or roll the biscuit dough into 8 (5-inch) circles.  Using a slotted spoon, spoon the beef in the centers of the dough circles (Reserve the soup mixture and keep warm).  Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese.  Gather the sides of the dough circles up to the center over the filling to form a pouch and twist to seal.  Place the dumplings onto a baking sheet.

Step 4

Bake for 15 minutes or until the dumplings are golden-brown.  Serve with the reserved soup mixture for dipping.

French Dip vs. Italian Beef

In my experience, French dip sandwiches are a pretty common thing to find on a menu. Taverns, family restaurants, steakhouses, BBQ joints… Whether you’re in a big city or a smaller town, odds are you can find one nearby. Typically it’ll be roast beef on a French roll served au jus.

To test this, I opened a Google Maps window, moved it to the middle of Missouri, and did a search for restaurants. I found a cluster of them in Jefferson City. The first one I clicked on, Madison’s Cafe, didn’t have anything called “French Dip” but it did have a roast beef sandwich served au jus.

We call it FREEDOM DIP in America, dammit!

Simple enough. I wasn’t sure how to tackle something so ubiquitous, but like I often do, I started by making dinner for my family.

I’ve done a top round roast for the site before, and this time was very similar.

I used a simple rub of black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder

I rubbed the roast all over

Top round roast, rubbed and ready to go

then blasted it in a very hot oven before killing the heat and letting it slowly come to temperature throughout. I wanted it to be more rare this time though, so I checked on it a little earlier and pulled it at 120 degrees or so. On the outside, it looked like this

Eventually I used my deli slicer to slice the roast thinly, and here’s what it looked like inside:

Thin-sliced rare roast beef

While resting the roast in foil, I deglazed the pan I’d had underneath catching its drippings with some red wine, then added beef stock and reduced until it tasted beefy enough for me.

I heated some Turano French rolls in the oven to get them a little more crusty than usual, then reheated the beef a sandwich-worth at a time in the drippings and served it in the rolls–with provolone if requested–with chips, a pickle spear, and some of the jus.

French dip au jus with pickle and chips

It was glorious. I couldn’t help thinking while eating it though…. this needs some giardiniera

Italian beef, wet and hot, from Luke’s

These are very similar sandwiches–if there were a sandwich family tree, both would be on the same branch as that other dipped beefy favorite, Buffalo’s Beef on Weck. That uses a very distinct kummelweck roll though, while these both use somewhat vaguely described French or Italian sandwich rolls. What is it that separates Chicago’s Italian Beef sandwich from the more ubiquitous, LA-based French dip?

@JimTheBeerGuy Always thought the Italian beef was basically a Chicago cook trying to fix a French dip sandwich's obvious failings.

&mdash Michael Gebert (@skyfullofbacon) April 19, 2016

OK, Mike and I might be a little biased. I’ll give impartiality a shot though.

Historical/cultural legitimacy:

This is the sandwiches story, its place in history, and its right to the nationality it claims.

The French Dip traces its roots back to Los Angeles circa 1908, at one of two restaurants that opened that year: Philippe’s, or Cole’s. Though they both claim to have invented the sandwich, consensus seems to swing toward Phillipe’s as the original (in fact it is often called Philippe the Original. Cole’s full name is Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet though which is a pretty great name.) There are origin stories that are cute in a “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter / you got your peanut butter in my chocolate” kind of way but are clearly apocryphal. The two restaurants aren’t far from each other, but not right next door or across the street, so you don’t get that great immediacy of the Philly Cheesesteak or Maxwell Street Polish rivalry. Most people still have their clear favorites though.

Philippe was French, clearly, which may have contributed to the name, though there’s an alternate theory that the sandwich was merely a play on words, borrowing the name of a turn-of-the-century women’s fashion. The flavors of the sandwich–the beef, the simple seasoning, the bread, even the jus–cannot be said to be uniquely French, though I would not claim them to be un-French either.

Italian Beef sandwiches don’t have a very clear story, though Thrillist just published a nicely-researched piece last month. They are generally said to have originated during (or even before) the Depression in Chicago. Stockyard workers would bring home cheaper cuts of beef, slow-roast them to tenderness, and serve them with bread to stretch the meat further. The Scala company, which supplies the beef to many of the city’s stands, was founded in 1925, and claims to have popularized the practice. Al’s Beef, widely considered to be the original Italian Beef stand, opened in 1938.

As for the Italian claim, look no further than the names of the players. Pasquale Scala of Scala Beef & Sausage Company. Al Ferrari, Chris and Frances Pacelli, the founders of Al’s Beef. Carl Buonavolanto of Buona Beef. Joe Zucchero of Mr. Beef on Orleans. Its origins and flavors are clearly Italian.

The French Dip sandwich seems to have been around a bit longer, with a clearer, though still disputed origin and wider awareness across the entire US, while the Italian Beef, while having a less clearly told story, is firmly rooted in the experience of the Italian-American community in Chicago. If sandwiches could be named historical landmarks the way buildings sometimes are, I’d have to give the nod to both of them. I’m calling this category a tie.


Without trying the original, I can only speculate what the French rolls at Philippe’s are like, but based on descriptions I imagine they’re a bit on the lighter and crustier side than those commonly used by Chicago’s beef stands, which are designed to be sturdier, to withstand a dunking in the hot gravy. I do like the idea of softening a crusty roll with jus, but again, I’m just speculating without access to the real thing. Indeterminate.


The roasts for Italian beef are generally well-marbled cuts like sirloin, rubbed with Italian herbs and spices (and plenty of garlic), and slowly wet-roasted with beef stock, to collect the juices for the gravy. You can get your sandwich with beef, or a combo that has beef and Italian sausage.

French Dip is made with roast beef too. But if you look at Philippe’s menu, they also offer roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey, or chicken (and the lamb is supposed to be the real star). Cole’s offers the pork, turkey, and lamb as well, along with an intriguing-sounding Pastrami Dip. Philippe’s prep includes roasting beef bottoms on a bed of carrots/onions/celery (mirepoix! Maybe there’s something to this French thing), then adding those pan juices to a separate pot of house-made stock.

At the average Midwestern mom and pop place that serves a French Dip sandwich as one of a dozen things on their menu, they probably just use deli roast beef and bouillon. But there are also plenty of Italian beef stands that buy their meat pre-sliced in a tub of gravy from Scala or another supplier.

Due to the sheer variety of options, I’ll give the edge to the French Dip here.


Both sandwiches, by default, come without cheese, though some places have cheese options, and this Serious Eats article raves about Philippe’s Lamb Dip with blue cheese. I know Portillo’s also has a Beef and Cheddar Croissant that comes with Italian Beef and cheddar sauce that I probably ought to not like but is actually great. However, I have to say that when it comes to the basic sandwich, cheese isn’t really a factor for either.


Neither of these sandwiches come with vegetables by default, though sweet peppers are an option on the Italian Beef, and a lot of French Dip recipes online add caramelized onions and/or mushrooms. I personally prefer onions to sweet peppers, but in either case, the vegetable options are not a deal breaker.


The French Dip is generally dressed either with horseradish–a personal favorite–or spicy nose-burning horseradish-heavy mustard–also a favorite. The Italian Beef “with hot” uses the world’s greatest condiment, giardiniera. This is no contest, despite my great love for horseradish and mustard. The Italian Beef has the clear advantage here.

Other serving options:

Both sandwiches can be ordered with varying degrees of bread sogginess–the French Dip normally comes with one side of the roll dipped briefly in the jus, while ordering it “double-dipped” will result in both sides of bread being wet. The Italian Beef (though the terminology can differ from place to place) can be ordered dry wet, which generally means having a little gravy ladled into the bread before filling or dipped, in which case the sandwich is assembled, then dipped whole into the simmering pot of gravy with a pair of tongs. French Dip also comes with jus on the side by default. It’s possible to get gravy on the side at an Italian beef stand, though it will require a special request and likely an upcharge at most places. Perhaps a very slight advantage to the French Dip here.


The French Dip comes with jus. The Italian Beef comes with gravy. Both are referring to basically the same thing, though quality is obviously going to vary from place to place. I personally prefer asking for gravy rather than trying to navigate the jus/au jus problem with a server. Many menus call it au jus, which basically means “with juice.” The liquid itself should properly be referred to simply as jus but just try to tell that to somebody who’s been working at a joint for 10 years or more and calling it au jus the whole time. Pedantry makes no friends, but everybody loves gravy.


I don’t have any. Hooray for sandwiches! French Dip sandwiches are pretty great if you make them right, and pretty lousy if you don’t. Italian Beef sandwiches have the same problem, but also have the all-time get-out-of-bad-sandwich-jail-free card called giardiniera. On the face of it, French Dip sandwiches ought to be at least as good or better than Italian Beef sandwiches, but I far prefer the latter. The ubiquity of the former probably isn’t helping it, since there are far more bad French Dip sandwiches than great ones. Hell, you can even get one at Arby’s.

I sure wouldn’t mind trying a few more great French Dips though. Some day, Philippe’s. Some day.

Dairy-Free Menu Guide for Not Your Average Joe’s

We have also noted custom order information for Not Your Average Joe’s, and will update as more information comes available to us.

Warm Ups

Heads Up! Sorry, the Buffalo Caribbean Chicken Tenders at Not Your Average Joe’s contain milk.


  • Ahi Tuna
  • Joe’s House
  • Super Crunch
  • Cobb (no cheese, dairy-free dressing)
  • Waldorf (no cheese)

Dairy-Free Salad Dressings: Balsamic Vinaigrette, Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette, Orange-Sesame Vinaigrette


Heads Up! The Dijon mustard contains dairy, and it’s used in their mustard crusted chicken, slaw, and aioli.

Custom Orders: You can order the burgers at Not Your Average Joe’s on dairy-free bread with no cheese. They offer a gluten-free bun, which is also dairy-free, but we were told the Martin’s potato roll and ciabatta contain dairy.


  • Heads Up! According to Not Your Average Joe’s Director of Culinary, the “pizza’s recipe has been modified and now contains dairy and egg.” So cheeseless pizzas are not dairy-free.

Other Mains

Heads Up! At this time, none of the mains at Not Your Average Joe’s, even the Asian-style ones, are dairy-free as is. The Dijon mustard contains dairy, and it’s used in their mustard crusted chicken. Their rice is made with butter.

Custom Orders: You can order plain Simple Salmon, Chicken, or Sirloin Tips, and choose dairy-free sides (see below). If you have your heart set on the Chicken & Shrimp Rice Bowl, order it with no rice, and extra vegetables. These are tips from Not Your Average Joe’s Director of Culinary.


Heads Up! The Rice Pilaf at Not Your Average Joe’s does contain dairy, and so does their Table Bread and Gluten-Free Roll. They also offer a “Seasonal Veg” – ask the server if their current option is prepared without dairy.


This Post is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.