Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches, 2 Ways


I’ve been dreaming about formulating a veggie French Dip à la Philippe’s for ages.  My first idea was sautéing shiitake mushrooms and serving them with a mushroom stock for dippin’.  After eating the jackfruit pulled pork at Pure Luck restaurant, I was eager to experiment with a jackfruit French Dip.  To dip the sandwiches, I wasn’t sure what would be better, a super-flavorful stock or a gravy, so I decided to try both, and made a roasted mushroom stock and gravy.   The results and recipes for both experiments are below.

Note:  both sandwiches can be made vegan by substituting olive oil in place of the butter when sautéing the mushrooms and jackfruit.  However, i’m not sure what the best way to make vegan gravy is, so I suggest you forgo the gravy and use the stock only.

I recommend you make the jackfruit and stock first, because they take the longest to prepare.  You can make both ahead of time and refrigerate them.  Because the stock and jackfruit benefit from long, slow cooking, I started both in the mid-afternoon.

Mushroom French Dip Sandwich:

Mushroom filling:

Serves 6

1 1/2 Pounds Shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp butter

Roasted Mushroom Stock (recipe below)

Roasted Mushroom Gravy (recipe below)


Sauté mushrooms and butter on medium heat.  Add small amount of stock and gravy and continue to cook until the mushrooms shrink and lose some of their liquid.  I added more gravy towards the end to create a nice coating on the mushrooms, but keep in mind not to make them too soupy, because you’ll be dipping the sandwich in the stock.

Jackfruit French Dip Sandwiches

The few jackfruit recipes I found online were for crockpot cooking, but I am crock-less.  I decided to cook the jackfruit in a large but short 6-qt soup pot instead.

Jackfruit Filling:

Serves 6

Jackfruit on the shelf at Seafood City

Jackfruit on the shelf at Seafood City

3 cans green jackfruit (brined or in water).  You can buy jackfruit from almost any asian market.

2 Tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, cut in half

1 tsp cumin

1 to 2 tbsp of your favorite spice mixture.  I used Thai curry paste, but you can also use dried chiles, curry powder, paprika, turmeric, etc; depending on your personal preference.

1/2 can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles.

1 bottle of beer, preferably a lager such as Harp. ( If you don’t want to use beer, you can substitute vegetable broth)

1 can vegetable broth ( I prefer Swanson’s, because it’s salty and onion-y)  Another option is to double the stock recipe and use that in place of canned broth.


Drain the jackfruit and place in a colander in the sink.  Rinse, then squeeze each piece to remove as much of the liquid as possible.  Set aside.

Jackfruit, pre-cooking

Jackfruit, pre-cooking

Sauté butter and onion on low for 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin and all other spices and saute for 2 minutes more.  Add all and stir to coat the onion.  Add jackfruit and tomatoes, stir, then cover.  Cook for 10 minutes, then add beer.  Stir and cook on low, covered, for another 4-6 hours.  You want there to be some liquid always in the pan, so add vegetable broth whenever the pan looks too dry.  The jackfruit is done when it has browned substantially.  My jackfruit browned to my liking after about 4 1/2 hours, but you can cook it longer if you want.

Jackfruit, after 5 hours of cooking

Jackfruit, after 5 hours of cooking

Roasted Mushroom Gravy (adapted from Gourmet)

Serves 6

2 tbsp unsalted butter

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups roasted mushroom stock, heated

Salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan over low to medium heat, then add flour and cook roux, stirring, until pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock in a stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, and bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.  I’ve found that you may need to add more roux depending on how thick you like your gravy.

Roasted Mushroom Stock

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

2 lbs mixed mushrooms, halved (I like cremini and button)

1/2 lb shallots (6 small or 4 medium), left unpeeled,then quartered

1/2 lb carrots (3 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

5 garlic cloves, left whole and unpeeled

5 pearl onion, left whole and unpeeled

4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs (including long stems)

3 fresh thyme sprigs

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California

1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes (use the remainder of the can from the jackfruit recipe)

1 quart water

3/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 425°F, with rack in the middle.

Place mushrooms, shallots, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, onion, parsley and thyme in a large roasting pan.  I use a metal pan sized 10×13″, about 2″ high.  Make sure your pan is safe for both stovetop and oven cooking.  Drizzle olive oil over the veggies.  Roast, stirring occasionally, for about 45 min. to an hour.

Veggies, ready to roast

Remove from oven and transfer veggies/herbs to a 4-qt. saucepan using a slotted spoon.  Place roasting pan across two burners on low heat and add wine.  Now comes the fun part- deglaze the pan by boiling the wine and scraping up all the yummy brown bits.  Pour into the pot with the veggies.  Add the bay leaf, tomatoes, water and salt.  I like to pour a bit of the water into the deglazed pan to gather up any last bits of flavor.  Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes.  Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.

Save about 1 1/2 cups of stock to use for dipping your French Dip into.  Use the remainder to make gravy.

The stock can be cooled and frozen or refrigerated if made in advance.  This is a really tasty stock to have on hand for all kinds of uses.

Assemble the Sandwiches:

6 good quality sandwich rolls, sliced in half

Have the stock and gravy warmed and poured into small bowls or ramekins for dipping.

To make the mushroom sandwich, simply spread the sautéed mushrooms on the bottom half of the roll.  Place the top half on, dip into the bowl filled with stock and chow down.

To make the jackfruit sandwich, spread jackfruit on the bottom half of the roll and smother with gravy.  Place the top half on and serve with extra gravy.


1 Response to “Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches, 2 Ways”

  1. 1 Kyle March 30, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Now I’m hungry!.. Good post

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