We always have pepperoncinis in the house, but I don't ever eat them. They're one of those things that Josh requires, as if I had a pet man and this was his kibble. Obviously, I feed him more than just pepperoncinis and olives and chocolate, but these are his snack foods. Me, I'm normal, and when I want a snack, I can eat a whole bag of potato chips. But he wants pepperoncinis and olives, with a homemade potato roll on the side. Then later, chocolate.

I buy 16 ounce jars of pepperoncinis at Aldi for $1.50 each. I don't pay any more attention to them than that. When I find an empty jar in the sink, I check the pantry and see if it's time to buy more. That is the extent of my relationship with them, other than the occasional kiss laced with pepper juice.

And then I found a recipe with pepperoncinis. It had never occurred to me that these were anything other than a snack food, that some people might use them as an ingredient in preparation of other foods. To me, they were just those things that Josh ate whole while I finished supper or that came in the Papa John's box. Snacks are snacks. They are not ingredients. It's like those people who put potato chips on their sandwiches - they claim it tasted good, but really it was just a gimmick. Those people used to earn quarters in elementary school by eating weird stuff.

But I made drip beef anyway, because it sounded delicious and because I'd recently had a great french dip at a restaurant. French dips are those beef sandwiches that you dip in au jus. They are one of the things I might order in a new restaurant if nothing else stuck out or they didn't serve reubens. I'd love to be able to make a great french dip at home. Now, I am halfway there.

Here's the Pioneer Woman's recipe. She has two ways to cook the meat; I used the first. Because at my house, pepperoncinis are a pantry staple and cooking sherry is not. Also, the second way involved more work. Not much work, but some work, while the first way required no work at all.

Since there are only two of us, I cut my chuck roasts up, so I used a 1.5 pound roast and 12 pepperoncinis (and halved the rest of the ingredients). For my Italian seasoning, I mixed 2 teaspoons each of basil, oregano, and marjarom, plus one teaspoon of sage. The meat was tender and flavorful, with just a touch of kick from the pepper juice. It looked pretty weird with the pepperoncinis floating around in there. I only had to cook it for 4 hours before it was falling apart. Also, I stuck my roast in the oven frozen solid, because I am lazy.

We ate these on toasted rolls with melted cheese on top. They were not the right kind of rolls, because I don't know the recipe for the right kind of rolls. Something like French bread, but with a thinner crust. And that's why I'm only halfway to making great french dips at home. But even though the ones we used were too dense and not crusty enough, it was still delicious. It's hard to go wrong with homemade bread. Josh said they were "dope," which is one of those terms that I can't get away with using because I'm can't say it with a straight face. In any case, now you, too, can make dope sandwiches.

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