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Elevate the French dip! Here are four things a pro does for an upgraded sandwich

Take your French dip sandwich to the next level!

French dip is a classic. Loaded with steak, dripping with au jus, and just oozing wtih gorgeous cheese. When you make it at home, you want it to be chef-worthy. Most of us usually just make this fancy sandwich in the crockpot at home—but that’s not how the pros do it.

Chef Todd Leonard shares four ways you can upgrade your French dip.


  1. Use a Ribeye Cut

Todd says a ribeye cut is going to get you the juiciest, most tender meat. Todd cooks his meat until it’s medium rare, and then slices it up.

The magic is the Au Jus dunk. Take a handful of sliced meat and throw it in your pot of Au Jus for about 45 seconds. This infuses your sandwich with that delicious and rich flavor, and intensifies the taste of the meat.

After dunking the meat, throw it on to your sandwich.

  1. Serve on Sourdough Ciabatta Bread

French Dip isn’t the same without the Au Jus. But, there’s nothing worse than a soggy sandwich that just falls apart when you dip. Your bread choice should be sturdy and keep together when in your jus. Chef Todd says that sourdough ciabatta is his first choice. The sourdough adds another delicious dimension to the sandwich.

  1. Load it up with Caramelized Onions

Do you really need to add caramelized onions to your sandwich? Yes. Yes you do. Chef Todd knows what he’s doing with this one. Just take our word for it.

  1. Melt Gruyere Cheese on Top

The right cheese makes all the difference. Chef Todd’s first pick is gruyere. It plays so well off of the other flavors in your sandwich, and just brings the whole thing together.


French Dip Sandwich

Recipe By: Chef Todd C. Leonard CEC
Serving Size: 6 Sandwiches
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Sandwich

  • 3 pounds  Beef Tenderloin, Ribeye or Strip Loin beef
  • 12 thick  Slices gruyere cheese
  • 2 large  Sweet onions — julienne
  • 6 Sourdough Ciabatta Rolls

For the Au Jus

  • 2 cups  Onion — large dice
  • 1 cup  Carrots — large dice
  • 1 cup  Celery — large dice
  • 2 tablespoons  Garlic — minced
  • 2 tablespoons  Shallots — minced
  • 1/2 cup  Tomato trim
  • 2 tablespoons  Thyme fresh — chopped
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup  Parsley trim
  • 1 cup  Red wine
  • 6 cups  Beef stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon  Balsamic vinegar


  1. To make the Sandwich, pan sear the choice of meat, roast to an internal temperature of 120 F. Cool completely.
  2. After meat has cooled slice on slicer of with knife very thin, meat should be medium rare and pink!
  3. Julienne the onions and place in pan with a little butter and oil. Cook slowly on medium heat until well caramelized about 15 minutes.
  4. To make the Aujus, add all the mirepoix to a hot sauce pot and caramelize.
  5. Add in the wine to deglaze and then all the herbs, simmer until reduced by half.
  6. Add in the stock and bring to a simmer for 35 minutes.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Add balsamic to finish.
  9. Assemble sandwich by butter grilling the bread, then add meat to strained au jus and cook for 45 seconds. Pull meat out and allow to drain back into the jus. Top each bun with meat, then onions, and top with cheese. Place under the broiler to melt then add the top bread and dip away!

Chef Todd teaches classes at the UVU Culinary Arts Institute. Find more information on Instagram, @uvu.cai, or at

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