What could be better than The Easiest Chicken You’ll Ever Make? The easiest beef. Because in my world, beef trumps chicken every time. A savory French dip is one of my favorite meals. If I only have to dedicate 5 minutes of effort into making one, all the better. 🙂
Now, don’t feel like you have to make French dips with this beef. Even if you do, there’s usually plenty left over to use in other dishes later in the week. The meat is just lightly seasoned (you can also not season it at all and have it turn out just fine), so it’s very versatile. It’s great in beef stroganoff, enchiladas, stirfry, and more. Almost any dish calling for ground beef can use this meat instead. Cutting out the time of browning ground beef makes preparing meals that much less troublesome.
First, grab your ingredients: 3 lbs of bottom round roast, beef stock, and seasoning if you’re using it. I use onion powder, garlic powder, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, and Lowrey’s Seasoning Salt. **Watch out for artificial colors and MSG in the stock and any seasonings you choose. Pretty common to see those in these items.
Cut the meat in half and place it in your slow cooker. I like to put a little of the stock in the bottom of the pot before I put the meat down, just to ensure nothing sticks. Makes cleanup much easier.
Cover the meat at least half way up with beef stock. If you want to save money (I do!) then just use water for the rest. Whatever you decide to use, fill the pot until the beef is mostly covered.
Sprinkle on your seasonings. I use about a teaspoon of each of mine. Give your stock a little stir if you’d like, but I usually don’t and it all blends together just fine.
Put the cover on, set your cooker for at least 6 hours (medium-high heat), and walk away. You can make it in 4 hours, but it’s not quite as tender or flavorful as I prefer.
After the allotted cooking time, grab a couple forks and pick up one half of the meat.
This cut of meat usually as a “fatty side”, but it scrapes off easily.
Once you remove the fat, start shredding. I recommend shredding all of it right away while it’s warm, because it just falls apart. Takes literally two minutes to shred all three pounds. It’s slower going once it’s been refrigerated.
That’s it, folks! Five minutes of work and you’ve got a big ol’ pile of beef to do with as you please.
If you’d like to see how I make my French dips, keep reading. If not, enjoy your beef! 🙂
To make the French dips, all you need are some hoagies and cheese. I usually add some sweet bell peppers too.
Preheat the broiler in your oven.
Last year while learning to make different kinds of bread, I found this great recipe for homemade hoagies over at Amy’s Cooking Adventures. I’ve been making them ever since. They are so simple! And they freeze well (that’s the definition of a real winning recipe in my book). It takes less than a minute to heat them back up in the microwave. Love that fresh bread smell! Perfection! Store bought hoagies are awesome too. I’ll buy a bag if we’re having a lot of people over and I don’t have enough hoagies left in the freezer. Whichever you’re using, cut them length-wise and lay them open on a baking sheet.
Put your meat on one side of the roll and your cheese and veggies on the other side. You can also butter the inside of your bread first if you want some extra flavor. Now pop that tray in the oven on one of the lower racks so the bread doesn’t burn. Keep an eye on it. It only takes a couple minutes to cook.
When the cheese has melted and the bread starts browning around the edges it’s done.
You can ladle some of the stock straight out of the Crock Pot to use as au jus. Most store bought au jus mixes have caramel coloring in them. This is a simple dye-free alternative.
If you want a thicker, more gravy-like version you can make a quick roux (equal parts butter and flour whisked together in a small pot – 2 Tbs of each will turn into a good amount of gravy). Then add in the stock from the slow cooker until it’s the consistency you’re going for (if you use 2 Tbs in the roux, then it’ll take about 2 cups of stock to make a good gravy). Just giving you another option if you’ve got a some extra time and feel like being fancy. 🙂
Add a few sides and you’ve got a super fast, delicious French Dip dinner.