A wonderfully rich and flavorful Au Jus recipe that can be made with or without meat drippings without compromising the flavor! This au jus sauce is the ultimate accompaniment to your prime rib and French dip sandwiches. Or you can also thicken it and serve it over beef and noodles. It’s super easy to make and is out of this world delicious!
I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which popular dishes came to be created; where they originated, what inspired them, and how they changed and evolved as they crossed international boundaries. The concept of au jus as a flavorful juice that is released from cooking meat and then used to enhance the flavor of other dishes is most certainly French. The thin but flavorful liquid is commonly served as an accompaniment to prime rib. But its most popular application in the United States is as the accompaniment to what is called the French Dip Sandwich – not only an American creation but one that came about entirely by accident.
What is Au Jus?
Au Jus is a French term meaning “with juice”. It refers to the juices that are released as meat, typically beef, cooks. These juices are collected and used to flavor other dishes, including used as a thin gravy served with meat, particularly prime rib. It’s not only a resourceful way to make use of these beef drippings, it also adds back an incredible amount flavor to any meat dish. Here in the U.S. it’s most commonly used as a side sauce for dipping, specifically for the popular French Dip Sandwich. The sandwich, loaded with sliced tender beef, Swiss cheese, and caramelized onions, is dipped into the au jus before each bite, saturating the bread and fillings with flavor.
Despite its name, the French Dip Sandwich isn’t actually French. It was created in Los Angeles in 1908 and two restaurants claim the inventive rights to the sandwich, though no one knows for sure which one deserves the credit: Philippe the Original and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet. The prevailing story comes from Phillipe’s where it’s rumored a chef preparing a regular roast beef sandwich for a police officer accidentally dropped the sandwich into a pan of beef drippings. The officer liked the sandwich so much that he came back the next day with his friends and asked for the sandwich to be made the same way. And thus the French dip sandwich was born. How true that is, we’ll probably never know. But I do love the idea that some of the best meals can come from our mistakes!
How Do I Make Au Jus?
This homemade au jus sauce varies from the traditional recipe which uses meat drippings: Since most people don’t usually have beef drippings on hand, we give you the option to use or replace them with butter. But have no fear, if you choose to make this au jus without beef drippings you will NOT be disappointed in the flavor! I’ve carefully crafted this recipe with ingredients that include red wine, Worcestershire sauce, shallots, garlic, Dijon mustard, and thyme to give your au jus incredible richness and depth of flavor. And then there’s my secret ingredient: Ground porcini mushrooms. Just grind them in a spice/coffee grinder or pound them in a ziplock bag. They add such a depth flavor and for the ultimate boost in umami they are an absolute MUST! Don’t worry if you don’t like mushrooms, you won’t taste the “mushroom” flavor, you’ll only experience the overall increased depth and flavor they add to your au jus sauce.
How Long Will Au Jus Keep?
The au jus gravy will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. You can also make au jus well in advance and freeze it.
What Can I Serve With the Au Jus?
We’ve already discussed its perfect mate, the French dip sandwich. However, this rich and savory beef dip gravy also pairs perfectly with prime rib, roast chicken, or over beef and noodles.
Aus Jus Recipe
Let’s get started!
Add the butter or drippings to a skillet and melt over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.
After the onions and garlic have simmered for a few minutes, add the flour.
Whisk in the flour until it is incorporated and simmer for 1 minute.
For a gluten free au jus: Substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Add the red wine and whisk constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
The mixture will thicken.
Whisk in the beef broth and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
Add remaining ingredients.
Return the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. The liquid will reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Serve the au jus immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (reheat in microwave).
For more delicious French sauces be sure to try our:
Ultimate Au Jus
- 4 tablespoons butter or beef drippings
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten free: use GF all-purpose flour) *this is just enough flour to give the texture a nice mouth feel without thickening it
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups quality beef broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 shallot , finely minced (or 3 tablespoons finely minced red onion)
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 2 teaspoons beef broth base (e.g. beef granules, paste, bouillon cube)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (recommended for best flavor but if needed can substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
- 2 teaspoons ground dried porcini mushrooms (HIGHLY recommended for the ULTIMATE flavor and umami boost! If using dried porcini pieces grind them in spice/coffee grinder, blender, or pound to a powder in a ziplock bag)
- Add the butter or drippings to a skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the flour until it is incorporated and simmer for 1 minute.Add the red wine and whisk constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer for about 2 minutes (the mixture will thicken). Whisk in the beef broth and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Add the remaining ingredients, return the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. The liquid will reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.Serve the au jus immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (reheat in microwave).
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet July 20, 2021