This sandwich is a Japanese twist on an American favorite, the French dip, a hot beef-and-cheese number served with a sidecar of broth for dipping. The classic sandwich calls for sliced roast beef; here, well-marbled cuts like rib fingers or short ribs are brought to a state of gelatinous wobble inside a broth seasoned with umami-rich miso paste. Roughly cut, then mixed with its own rendered fat and braising liquid, the cooked beef is stuffed into a well-buttered, well-toasted, and thoroughly cheesed-up crusty ciabatta roll, then gets dipped back into the deeply brown liquid before each bite. Once dipped, the bread reaches that irresistible balance between crunchy and chewy—and super juicy—delivering an intensely satisfying bite of tender beefiness and creamy, stringy cheese. This is soupy, leaky, and slurp-friendly. I like to think of it as the soup dumpling of sandwiches. I highly recommend making the meat the day before you plan to serve these (or up to 4 days ahead), as it only gets better as it sits. —Mandy @ Lady and pups
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 3 hours 20 minutes
- Serves 4
- Miso-stewed beef
2 1/4 pounds
beef rib fingers or boneless short ribs
large yellow onion, quartered and cut into large chunks
garlic cloves, chopped
5 to 6
(2-inch) slices ginger
freshly ground black pepper
beef or chicken stock
yellow miso paste
dry Japanese sake
- Sandwich assembly
(3x6-inch) ciabatta rolls, or 1 loaf ciabatta, quartered
melted unsalted butter
slices (a little over 1 pound) provolone cheese
finely minced shallots
Freshly ground black pepper
bonito flakes (optional)
- If using rib fingers, leave them in large strips, uncut. If using short ribs, cut each rib into 2x6-inch chunks.
- Heat the canola oil in a large, oven-safe pot such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches if needed, add the beef (fat side down first) without crowding the pot and sear until deeply caramelized on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. If cooking in batches, return all the beef to the pot.
- Add the soy sauce and continue to cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste, black pepper, and curry powder and cook for a couple minutes more. Add the beef or chicken stock, miso paste, mirin, and sake. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Cover the pot and simmer over low heat (alternatively, heat the oven to 300°F) and cook for 3 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender and the liquid has reduced by about one-third. If cooking on the stove, stir every 20 minutes or so to prevent burning. Stir once after about 1 1/2 hours if cooking in the oven.
- Carefully remove all the beef from the braising liquid with tongs and transfer to a plate, then strain the remaining liquid and all the solids in the pot through a fine sieve. Press on the solids to extract all the liquid, then discard the solids. Return the beef and strained liquid to the pot. (Taste the broth. It should taste saltier than soup or bone broth, but if it’s too salty to your taste, add a little more stock; if it’s too bland, let it reduce down a bit more over a simmer on the stove.) Store the meat in the broth in the refrigerator in the pot for up to 1 day, or in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To put together the sandwiches, reheat the beef mixture if chilled. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and cut into chunks, then transfer to a bowl. Skim off some of the excess fat on top of the liquid. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the skimmed fat into the chopped beef. You can continue skimming the remaining fat (roast vegetables in it or discard) or leave it in the pot.
- Slice each roll in half horizontally and remove some of the interior to create space for the filling. Brush the inside of each bread halves liberally with melted butter.
- Heat the broiler on high and toast the bread halves until golden brown, then flip them over and broil until golden brown on the other side. Arrange about 3 slices of cheese onto each halved slice of bread, then return them under the broiler to cook until the cheese is melted.
- Pile the chopped beef liberally on each of the bottom bread pieces, then top with the other piece of bread. Ladle the hot miso broth into 4 small bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon minced shallots into each bowl and season each with black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of bonito flakes (if using).
- Serve immediately, with the broth near the sandwich for easy dipping.