Exploring the Origins
Au jus sauce is a rich and flavorful accompaniment that adds depth to prime rib and French dip sandwiches. This versatile sauce can also be thickened and served over beef and noodles. Its creation can be traced back to France, where it was born out of the concept of using the flavorful juice released from cooking meat to enhance other dishes. In the United States, the French Dip Sandwich popularized the use of au jus sauce. Ironically, this sandwich, loaded with tender beef, Swiss cheese, and caramelized onions, was created by accident in Los Angeles in 1908.
Understanding Au Jus
Au jus, meaning “with juice” in French, refers to the natural juices released from cooking meat, typically beef. These juices are collected and used to flavor other dishes, often as a thin gravy served alongside prime rib. In the United States, au jus is commonly used as a dipping sauce for the French Dip Sandwich. Each bite of the sandwich is dipped into the au jus, saturating the bread and fillings with its delicious flavor.
Crafting the Perfect Au Jus
Making homemade au jus sauce doesn’t require meat drippings. Instead, you can use butter as a substitute. The recipe features a combination of red wine, Worcestershire sauce, shallots, garlic, Dijon mustard, and thyme to create a rich and flavorful sauce. A secret ingredient, ground porcini mushrooms, adds depth and umami to the au jus without overpowering it with a mushroom flavor. Even if you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you’ll appreciate the enhanced taste they provide.
Storing and Serving
You can store au jus gravy in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container, or freeze it for later use. The sauce pairs perfectly with a variety of dishes, including prime rib, roast chicken, and beef and noodles.
Au Jus Recipe
To make your own au jus sauce, follow these simple steps:
- Melt butter or drippings in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and garlic, cooking for 3-4 minutes.
- Incorporate flour into the mixture and simmer for 1 minute.
- If making gluten-free au jus, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Whisk in red wine, preventing lumps, and simmer for about 2 minutes.
- Add beef broth and simmer until slightly thickened.
- Introduce remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Enjoy the homemade au jus sauce and savor its depth of flavor!
For more French sauces, try our:
- Bearnaise Sauce
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Tartar Sauce
- Bechamel Sauce
Originally published on Family Cuisine on July 20, 2021.