Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

I picked another recipe from The $7 a Meal Slow Cooker Cookbook.  It looks pretty easy, and bonus there is no onion chopping involved (which I swear every other recipe had!).

Here are the details:

1 pound bottom round beef roast             1 bay leaf

1 t seasoned salt                                                3 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 t pepper                                                        1 t dried thyme

2 T oil                                                                     4 crusty french sandwich buns

2 c beef stock                                                       2 T butter

1. Trim excess fat off beef and rub with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in skillet and brown beef on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Place beef in slow cooker with remaining ingredients except buns and butter.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, until beef is very tender.  Remove beef from broth and strain broth.  Slice beef thinly against the grain.

3. Toast sandwich buns and spread with butter.  Pile beef in buns and make sandwiches.  Serve strained broth on the side for dipping.

After last week’s prep disaster (did I mention that last week I couldn’t find many of the ingredients and had to search through cupboards, pantry and fridge to find what I needed and I had to to make importand decisions about which vinegar to use), I decided to make sure I knew where everything was the night before. 

This involved looking at the recipe a little more carefully than I did on our weekly menu day.  I admit, I was a little intimidated to cook beef, but reading the first sentence really got me worried.  Trimming  fat sounded possibly dangerous, and I’m pretty sure it would involve using a knife.  I figured it was time to bring in an expert (and hope to God the lectures involved would be worth the assistance).

I asked my husband.  He readily agreed to help and even offered to trim the fat for me.  But I was brave (and this is all in the name of learning) and said that I could do it.  I immediately regretted it the minute he pulled out a knife and a knife sharpener.  One of those sharpeners that you glide the blade through the little stone-thingys and sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.

He insisted the I need to sharpen the knife first.  Me, not him.  He wouldn’t do it, even when I asked nicely.  I think he was enjoying my obvious discomfort at having to do this.  I took a deep breath and slowly pulled the knife through.  Ehhhh, I didn’t realize that when you sharpen the knife, you not only hear the awful sound, but you can actually feel it scraping.  Shivers crawled up my spine.  My husband made me do it again, explaining the correct way to pull it through (apparently I did it wrong).  The sound and feeling was still just as bad.  It took me several tries until I did it “right.” 

Okay, we hadn’t even gotten to the raw meat part of this, and I was already freaked out.  I just needed to forge forward because the rest of this recipe would be cake if I could just complete this whole fat thing.

My huband pulled out the beef (does that sound dirty to anyone but me?).  He flipped it to the fatty side and demontrated how to slide the knife under the fat layer.  He then did smooth, long strokes (get my mind out of the gutter) to separate the fat from the beef.  My turn.  I grabbed the beef (now this is getting ridiculous) and wedged my knife under the fat.  I was terrified to do the longer strokes, so I basically just sawed gently and for the most part, it worked.  I may have cut out a little of the beef, too, but overall, I was pretty proud of myself.

This morning, I took the meat out and prepared to brown it.  Got out my pan, set it on medium high heat, and got ready to throw the meat into it.  Just as I was about to place it in, I glanced at the recipe and realized I had forgotten the oil!  See I can learn from  my mistakes.  🙂  Though next time, I might be better about choosing my pan size…this one is a little small for my big beef.

After it was sufficiently browned and I had only been mildly splattered with hot burning oil, I put it into the pot and added all the remaining ingredients.  Smells really good.

And I know I can handle the side dish.  (Yep, I found a great way to insert my tots into the menu!)

Be back soon with the results.

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