“Jus” The Perfect Prime Rib Sandwich? Absolutely!

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There are few things I enjoy more than a Prime Rib roast beef dinner.

Such as, er… well… leftover Prime Rib. In sandwich form. With onions. Horseradish. Au jus.

Au what, you ask?

Au jus. French for “in it’s own juices.”

Pub folks will know the word “jus,” even if they don’t know what it means. Almost any pub of merit, you see, will have some kind of beef/jus combo – whether it be a Friday or Saturday Prime Rib special or a Roast Beef Dip with fries.

Jus is the rich, aromatic sauce that comes on the side of these dishes. Not quite a gravy and yet more than mere drippings, jus adds extra depth and moisture to beef-based menu items.

It is also the best thing you can possibly do to a roast beef sandwich.

Hence my love of leftovers.

Here, my friends, is the secret to the perfect roast beef sandwich. Including instructions on making your own jus.

I’m not going to take you through the roasting process for the meat. If there are any requests for tips on cooking a good roast, I shall address them in a different blog.

What I will stress, however, is making sure you include several onions – chopped into quarters – in the roasting pan. These onions will make an excellent sweet, juicy addition to your sandwich.

Another additional tip? I work some of my own cracked pepper rub into the outside of my Prime Rib roast before putting it in the oven. I find it makes the beef juices taste even that much better – and the outside crackling of the beef to be sublime.

I’m not going give you my exact recipe for this rub – it’s a well-guarded secret – but I can give instructions on making one of your own. See below for details.

When you cook your roast, be sure to keep it on the rare side. I tend to pull mine out of the oven when the internal temperature reads 120 degrees on the meat thermometer. The roast will continue to cook for a bit as it cools from the outside. The meat usually ends up being medium rare by the time I carve it. For nice juicy roast beef sandwiches, you want a nice juicy roast. Overcooking will dry it.

While you may be tempted to make sandwiches with your freshly cooked roast, I do recommend you enjoy a traditional Prime Rib meal first. Save the sandwiches for the next day. After all, you don’t get a roast this good very often.

We order a half-cow at a time here, which means we usually get either one large or two small Prime Rib Roasts – in other words, there isn’t a lot of Prime Rib in the mix. And if you are buying this cut alone, you’ll be spending quite a bit. You’re looking at the most expensive roast there is. Make yourself a lovely table and respect the beef. This time of year, there are no shortage of really good carrots, potatoes, and root veggies. Light some candles. Don’t skimp on the wine.

The next night, however… Bring on the buns!

By sandwich time, you’ll have all of the ingredients you need for these hand-held feastlings: beef, onions (from your roasting pan), horseradish (recipe to follow), and jus (recipe to follow). I prefer a white bun with a bit of crust to it. Krista makes a ciabatta style bun that is perfect for beef.

There are no hard and fast rules for sandwich assembly. Mine starts off with a smear of horseradish, followed by a significant pile of warm beef (thinly sliced), then some of the roast onion, another smear of horseradish and… well, nothing else.

Once you dip into the jus you’ll have all the flavour you need. I dip once per bite.

Sandwich perfection.

And probably a good enough excuse for anther bottle of red. Please see the bottom or the post for wine pairing suggestions.

Now, onto the recipes. You could very well make this recipe 100% local by making the horseradish yourself using locally grown horseradish tuber and apple cider vinegar from Prince Edward County. There is no shortage of local beef, as well as all other ingredients. Even if you use a jarred horseradish, you’re doing pretty well on the local front.

Horseradish root (keep your eyes peeled at market for this fall crop)
Cider vinegar – Campbell’s Orchards in Prince Edward County offers sells some of their own.
A pinch of salt.

This couldn’t get more simple. Wash, peel, and roughly chop the horseradish. Purée in food processor. Add just enough vinegar to form a damp paste. Add a bit of salt to taste. Warning, this will be stronger that your store-bought varieties. Some people add a bit of sugar to balance the vinegar.

Coriander Black Pepper Rub
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp mixed whole peppercorns
3 tsp dried time leaves (or 3 tbsp fresh)
3 tsp dried rosemary leaves (or 3 tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp coarse salt.

Toast the coriander seeds and peppercorns over medium heat until good and aromatic. Use a mortar and pestle or food processor to break mixture up into coarse pieces. Mix in other ingredients.

Roast Beef Coriander Black Pepper Jus
5-7 rib Prime Rib Roast
1/3 cup of roughly chopped carrot
1/3 cup of roughly chopped celery
2/3 cup of roughly chopped onions
500 ml beef stock (we make our own when we can, but will buy “Kitchen Basics” for its lack of MSG)
A generous pinch of your Coriander Black Pepper Rub blend
(note: all the vegetables will be available at the Saturday Market from local growers)

You will have cooked the roast right on the roasting pan – rather than on a rack – in order to have it brown to the pan. Once you remove the hot roast and onions, add your mirepoix (the carrot, celery and onion) and cook over med-high heat. Cook until the vegetables are browned and the moisture has been absorbed or evaporated. Pour off any excess fat – but not the browned drippings! Add your spice blend. Deglaze the pan with roughly half of your stock. Be sure to scrape up as much of the drippings as you can. Pour into a small saucepot with the remainder of the stock. Simmer until it reduces by roughly a third. Strain through a fine mesh china cap lined with cheesecloth.

Serve sandwiches while the beef is warm and the jus hot.

Wine pairing by Wilton Wine Consulting
Wine Tastings – Wine Dinners – Celler Consultation

You’ve asked me for the best Prince Edward County wine to serve with Prime Rib, and that’s a tough one. There are a few options, but with not quite local grapes. Karlo Estates ’08 Merlot or their ’10 Petit Verdot would do their trick. Mind you, both are made with Niagara fruit. For a “pure” County wine, Stanner’s Cab Franc 09 showed very well with Prime Rib recently. Enjoy!”