But I can tell you that I was definitely missing out. Italian Beef sandwiches are so delicious. And giardenaire is great! It's basically a jar of mixed pickled vegetables, including garlic and sometimes jalapenos for a spicy version, with Italian seasonings and oil.
I'm going to give you a really easy recipe I created for Italian Beef, using your crockpot and a beef roast.
Italian Beef (crockpot)
1 beef roast, weighing about 2-4 pounds (Size isn't really important here.)
2 medium onions, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced (or use your own frozen green peppers if you put them up last summer)
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning (mix of basil, oregano, thyme, etc.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water or beef stock
Put the roast in the crockpot, and add the onions, peppers, garlic, and Italian seasonings. Add water or beef stock until it just covers the top of the roast.
Cook on low for 12-16 hours. I usually turn it on the night before, and we eat it for the lunch the next day.
When done, tear the beef apart with a fork right there in the crockpot, leaving bite-size shreds of it.
Make sure the broth tastes good, add salt & pepper to taste. This is now your au jus.
Au jus from the crockpot
The Italian Beef can be served on regular homemade garlic bread, whole wheat, buns, etc. However, I will tell you that we sometimes pull out the big guns and treat ourselves with a loaf of store-bought garlic bread. There is nothing to compare with the taste of Italian Beef served on garlic bread. After cooking the garlic bread, pull it out of the oven and put the beef on it (draining off the au jus first). Then place a few slices of cheese on top (good choices would be mozzarella or brick). Put it back into the oven until the cheese has melted.
Serve with giardenaire if desired. We make & can our own giardenaire from our garden vegetables, but you can usually find it in a grocery store near the pickles section.
Our canned giardenaire
Pour some of the au jus onto the sandwiches when eating, or do it my husband's favorite way and dip the entire sandwich.
This recipe makes a big batch of Italian Beef, and it freezes great!