Sunday, February 15, 2015

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

I like to make meat dishes in the slow cooker, because it usually involves minimal touching.  This one has even less than some recipes that call for the meat to be browned in a skillet; you just have to rub some spices into it, like garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, and then throw it in the Crockpot and call it a day.  Well, not a day, but half a day (9 - 12 hours).  It gets slow roasted in beef broth until your house smells like beef.  Maybe some people like that?

The sandwiches get made with freshly caramelized onions and peppers, slices of melty provolone cheese, and whole wheat rolls.  Oh, did I mention that these sandwiches are low fat?  308 calories for a big, meaty, cheesy sandwich?  And that includes serving the sandwich with a little ramekin of the beef broth the meat cooked in.

Now here's the problem.  I didn't have a sandwich, obviously, but even as I was cutting the meat, I could tell it was pretty dry.  Luckily my meat eaters got to dip their sandwiches into the broth, so they didn't know how dry it was.  But it was dry, and I am not sure why that happened.  I agree that 9 - 12 hours felt like a long time to cook the meat, so maybe lean more towards the 9 hour mark.  Because Mark refuses to eat reheated meat and I don't eat it at all, the leftovers were given to Laura and she made quesadillas with them.  She agreed that it was dry.  If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think about the meat itself.


slow cooker French dip sandwiches with caramelized onions
from Skinny Taste

for the beef:
3 -4 pound lean bed round roast, trimmed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 to 3 (14.5-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 large onion, cut into chunks
for the caramelized onions (makes about 1 cup):
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
for the peppers (makes about 2 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced into strips
for the sandwich:
reduced fat provolone or mozzarella slices
whole wheat baguette or rolls, cut into 2 ounce pieces


1) In a small bowl, mix the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Rub the spice mixture onto all sides of the roast, then place in the allow cooker.

2) Pour the broth into the side of the roast until it just covers the meat.  If the broth doesn't cover the roast, you can add water. Top with onions.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns and bay leaf to the broth.  Cover and cook on low until the meat flakes apart easily with a fork, about 9 to 12 hours, depending on the size of your roast.

3) An hour before the meat is done, prepare the onions and peppers.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and salt and cook until golden, stirring often, reducing heat as needed if the onions are burning too quickly, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan if it becomes too dry.  The onions should turn golden and the flavor should be sweet.  Transfer to a serving bowl and then add the peppers to the skillet and cook, stirring often until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

4) Remove meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board and shred with a fork or slice with a knife.  Strain the broth through a fine sieve, then place in a gravy separator to remove any fat.  Pour 1/4 cup broth into each small ramekin.

5) Preheat the oven to broil.  Split the bread open and top with 2 ounces of beef. Top with onions, peppers, and cheese and broil until the cheese melts.  Place on a plate with broth for dipping.

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