Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roast Beef Po'Boys with Debris

Q: Would you like a detritus sandwich?

Q: A garbage hoagie, perhaps?

Q: Howzabout a roast beef po'boy with debris?
A: MMM! Yeah, you right, doll!

Don't worry. Debris refers to the little bits of meat cooked into a gravy that is served on the po'boy. It's how we eat roast beef po'boys in the areas in and around New Orleans and Cajun Country.

By the way, this beef isn't roasted. It's braised in wine and stock for about 4 hours.

Roast Beef with "Debris" Gravy for Po'Boys
I like to cook the roast one day in advance of serving. That gives me time to refrigerate the cooking liquid so I can remove the fat.

DAY 1:
Make the roast beef:
5 large cloves garlic, quartered
salt-free or reduced salt Creole seasoning
kosher salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 c beef stock (homemade is best)
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 Tbsp Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
4 ribs celery, halved
4 whole carrots, peeled and halved
2 - 3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme

  1. Pat roast dry. Cut 20 x's into the roast, about six on the top, six on the bottom, and four on each side.

  2. Stuff each x with a piece of garlic.

  3. Heat the oil in a pot large enough to hold the roast, liquid, and veggies.

  4. Season roast liberally with Creole seasoning, salt and pepper on all sides.

  5. Brown the roast on all sides.

  6. Pour in the stock, wine, worcestershire, Cajun Power, and add the celery, carrots, onions, bay leaf, and thyme.

  7. Cover and simmer for 4 1/2 hours, or until beef is falling apart.

  8. Remove meat to a storage dish to cool.

  9. Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids.

  10. Reserve 3/4 c of the cooking liquid for the roast. Refrigerate the rest.

  11. When roast is cool, slice is as best you can. It will probably just fall apart further.

  12. Place the roast into a dish with the reserved cooking liquid and refrigerate overnight.

Make the gravy:
liquid from roast
small bits of roast leftover from carving
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
Creole seasoning
garlic powder

  1. Skim the fat from the refrigerated cooking liquid and discard.

  2. Place the remaining liquid into a saucepan and reduce by rapidly boiling for approximately 30 mins.

  3. Turn the heat down and whisk in the flour.

  4. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until thickened slightly. You don't want a thick gravy, but you do want it thick enough so that you can spoon it over the meat without it completely saturating the bread.
  5. Season with s&p, Creole seasoning and garlic powder to taste.

You're ready to make the po'boy!

Assemble the sandwiches:
Sorry, no measurements here. Adjust all to your taste and to the number of sandwiches you plan to make. You should get about 7 or 8 good-sized po'boys from the roast beef recipe.

roast beef, gently reheated
1 or more loaves of the best French bread you can get(I had to settle for one that was a bit gummier than I like. If you can find a French bread that is light and airy, use it!)
Shredded lettuce or cabbage (iceberg lettuce is commonly used, but I used butterhead from my garden)
sliced tomatoes
dill pickles, drained
mayonnaise (I used light mayo)
roast beef
debris gravy
Louisiana Gold hot sauce (optional)

  1. Cut about a 9 or 10" section of French bread for each sandwich and split each lengthwise.

  2. Lightly toast the cut sides of the bread under a broiler. (Optionally, you can butter them first, but I don't do it.)

  3. Spread a thin layer of mayo on both sides of the bread.

  4. Place a generous portion of the beef on the bottom half of the bread.

  5. On the top half of the bread, layer tomatoes, pickles, and then shredded lettuce or cabbage. (Optional: I like to shake a little hot sauce atop the lettuce/cabbage.)

  6. Spoon as much of the debris gravy over the meat as you think you can handle.

  7. Close up the sandwich.

  8. Repeat and make as many sandwiches as you like.

  9. Grab a roll of paper towels. You'll need it!

If you have leftover roast and gravy, try having some over rice. This is what we call "roast, rice and gravy". It is commonly found at many a Cajun or Creole momma's house on Sundays.

6 red beans:

Make a Roux said...

Edited to add instructions for Day 1 vs Day 2, as well as adding the reheated roast to the list of ingredients for sandwich assembly.

misti said...

Roast, rice and gravy...definitely a weekend staple at my moomma's house! These poboys look divine.

Dwayne Melancon said...

Man, I haven't had débris in a long time. My grandmother used to smother it with onions and bell peppers and serve it to me over rice. I have never had it on a poboy, but it sounds great!

I haven't found débris in the Pacific Northwest - maybe I'll ask a butcher if he can get some for me...

Dwayne Melancon said...

By the way - the débris we had was not just roast beef - there was liver and some other kinds of organ meat in there (I was never sure exactly what) but we got it directly from the slaughterhouse when my grandparents butchered one of their cows (yes, I know where my food comes from as every good Cajun should).

Make a Roux said...

Hey, Dwayne! Thanks for the comments! It amazes me how much recipes differ from one small town to the next. I don't think we ever had organ meats in this, but we did eat liver and onions.

I completely understand what you mean about being Cajun and knowing where your food comes from. My great aunt raised pigs and chickens. My grandparents raised cows, but stopped at some point when my mom was a little girl. When I was a kid, we got all our beef from the local butcher who had his own stock and slaughterhouse. The kicker is that the slaughterhouse was adjacent to the playground of my primary school. Only in Cajun country!

Anonymous said...

What type of roast do you use?

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