When was the last time you felt truly gluttonous, where eating felt like pure indulgence, every mouthful rich and decadent?
Maybe in between salads and roasted root vegetable dinners, you like to let your inner carnivore out of her cave…you might invite her to tear through supple slabs of fatty meat, grease lining her lips and juices rolling down her chin…
Enter the au jus sandwich.
This brilliant recipe by Mandy of @ladyandpups (check out her Instagram here!) pairs Japanese flavors for an original take on this luscious, mouth-watering sando. Tender chunks of short rib perched in cheesy, crusty toasted bread dive into salty umami broth and make for a very gratifying dinner indeed. I ate this two days in a row and would have gone for a third, had there been any more to eat! Do heed Mandy’s advice and let the cooked short ribs hang out in their juices overnight before you plan to assemble your sandwich–the depth and complexity of flavor will be worth it!
What Does “Au Jus” Mean?
“Au Jus” is derived from French, literally translating to “with the gravy” and is thought to date back to around 1915. Today, it is used to describe a dish that is served with the “natural juices” of cooked meat.
A Brief History of the Au Jus Sandwich
The Au Jus (or French Dip, as it’s often called in America) has its roots in early 1900s Los Angeles. According to legend, a restaurant owner was making a sandwich for a local cop when he accidentally dropped the finished product in a pan of beef broth. The accommodating officer ate the sandwich anyway and enjoyed it so much, he invited friends the next day to eat this new invention. Two different L.A. restaurants claim to have started this culinary delight: Philippe The Original and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet, which have both been in operation since 1908. Regardless of the true origins, it did not take long for this delicious creation to reach international familiarity.
This Recipe Calls For A Lot of Miso…Where Should I Buy It?
It’s true: for this recipe, you need a whopping half cup of miso paste (no need to add extra salt for seasoning)! If supporting independent businesses is important to you, consider buying from South River Miso Company (their chickpea miso is an excellent idea, if slightly tangential to this recipe, which calls for regular soy). You can also always find miso at your local Asian market, and it usually comes in relatively large containers.
Other Ways To Use Miso
Miso is a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet and savory contexts. It boosts saltiness and umami flavors, and generally has a slight nuttiness that adds depth to whatever you cook. Here are some ideas for using up your leftover miso:
- Simple Fifteen Minute Miso Soup, from Minimalist Baker
- These scrumptiously nutty, chewy miso almond butter cookies from Bon Appetit
- Miso chicken from the New York Times
- This protein- and electrolyte-packed post-workout recovery bowl from Zesty Life
- Sesame miso vinaigrette from Bon Appetit
- Cold miso sesame noodles from Bon Appetit
- Miso- and apple-glazed ham from the New York Times
- Mixed into mashed potatoes
- A Cozy Kitchen’s miso brownies
Brown the meat in neutral oil on all sides. Assemble the ingredients and prepare to braise. The best part of this recipe? Once everything’s in the pot, all there is to do is wait while a delectable odor fills the air…
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a hot, heavy-bottomed pot, add the meat and cover with liquid.
Cover and braise for 3-3 1/2 hours at a relatively low temperature. Toast some crusty bread with a sharp cheese, assemble your sandwich, and ladle some of the luscious broth into a dip-able bowl.
Does it seem like hyperbole when I say I literally looked forward to eating this sandwich for weeks before it finally came to fruition? There’s something about planning meals ahead of time that is so rewarding.
This recipe makes for excellent leftovers that only taste better the longer they hang out in your fridge (you should probably throw it away if you can manage to keep it longer than 5 days or so, however…mine didn’t last nearly that long). Wow a friend or lover with this recipe! It makes for an excellent proclamation of love.
Miso-Braised Short Rib Au Jus
- oven-safe heavy-bottom dutch oven
- 3 lbs English short ribs
- 3 Tbs canola oil
- 2 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 large white onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 inches ginger, cut into strips
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp curry powder
- 6 cups beef broth, plus more if needed to cover meat
- 1/2 cup miso paste, preferably yellow or white
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 4 6 inch pieces of baguette, cut down the middle
- 6 Tbs butter, room temperature
- 1 lb provolone cheese, cut into slices
- 1/4 cup shallot, minced
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Heat the oil over medium-high in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe dutch oven. Add the short ribs fat side down first and cook, rotating until all sides are brown, about 4 minutes each side. If cooking in batches, drain browned short ribs on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Lower heat to medium. Return all meat to the pot. Add the soy sauce and cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. (You want the soy sauce to caramelize, but not burn.) Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste has caramelized slightly. Add beef broth, miso, and mirin and stir. If needed, add water until the meat is completely submerged.
- Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone tender.
- Using tongs, gently remove the short ribs from the liquid and place in a medium bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a large bowl using a fine mesh sieve. Discard the spent ginger, onion, et cetera, and return the liquid to the pot, followed by the beef. Clear space in the fridge and let the mixture cool, ideally overnight.
- When ready to eat, remove the dutch oven from the fridge. Skim off some of the solidified fat from the pot and discard. Over medium heat with the lid slightly ajar, reheat the short ribs until at a bare simmer.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Mince the shallot and set aside. Cut the bread into 6 inch lengths and butter. Place on a sheet tray and toast for several minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
- Using tongs, pull short ribs from the au jus and place in a large bowl. Using kitchen shears, snip the meat into one inch chunks. Place cheese on one half of all four of the sandwich toasts and place back in the oven until bubbling.
- Ladle the remaining au jus into four bowls and distribute chopped shallots into all four. Pile snipped short ribs and their juices between each set of sandwich toasts. Cut in half if desired, and serve immediately. If there is any left over, meat will keep well up to 4 days in the fridge.