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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Roast Beef

We had roast beef this week. A rare enough occurrence given that I'm not really fond of rare beef and apparently rare is the only way to cook roast beef. But they had the "Boston Roast" on sale and this is usually a small roast easily consumed by two. The cookbooks say this cut is meant to be pot-roasted (braised in liquid) but while it can be tough when roasted, we have usually had good luck with roasting. It was over 4 pounds. Just big enough for roast beef one night and leftovers for a couple meals.

Roasting beef couldn't be easier. Bring the meat to room temperature by letting it sit out for an hour or so. Heat the oven to a blasting 550 f. Put the roast in the oven in a pan with no rack, no liquid, no nothing and immediately turn the heat down to 350 and let it go for about 20 - 30 minutes per pound (the longer time if it's been rolled and tied) for medium, a little less for rare.

Let the roast stand, covered loosely with foil, for 10 minutes or so before carving to let the juices settle and there you are. I get the outside cuts as they are generally less rare than the later slices, which Bill adores.

You can mix about 1/4 cup flour with salt and pepper and your favorite herbs and rub the roast with this, before cooking, for a crusty exterior. You can slice potatoes, onions and carrots and scatter them in the pan. You can pour some beer or wine in the pan to help those veg cook a little (or parboil them first) and to help the pan drippings along.

If you want Yorkshire Pudding with your roast, and who doesn't, here's how. Mix an egg with about a cup each of milk and flour with a pinch of salt. Whisk until lump free. Then let it sit there while the roast cooks and whisk it a couple more times. It should resemble a thin pancake batter, a little thicker than for crepes.

When you take the roast out to rest, turn the oven up to 450 and if there's not a lot of grease in the pan add a little oil, butter, margarine or bacon fat. Let it get ripping hot and then pour the batter in all at once. Put it back in the oven for about 10 - 20 minutes, then turn the heat back down to 350 and let it cook until done, brown and shiny, about 10 - 20 minutes more. It will puff up and get a shiny crust and is delicious cut or torn into serving pieces and served with the beef and veg.

I know some people make gravy to accompany roast beef but mom never did this and so I don't either. I just pour any of the pan drippings over the meat and let it go at that. Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding is great with brussels sprouts or cauliflower. Serve tea after the meal for a very English touch.

I like to use the leftovers to make roast beef hash, roast beef sandwiches or fake Stroganoff. Chill the leftover meat and then slice it as thin as you can get it for sandwiches or Stroganoff. Use the bits and chunks for hash.

Hash - chop the beef and any leftover veg fairly fine. Heat some oil or bacon grease in a skillet and add a minced onion if you didn't have any leftover, and then a diced potato. Finally add the chopped beef and veg and heat through. You can let it get pan-crispy if you wish but you probably don't want to cook the beef too long. Salt and pepper, a little cayenne, tobasco or worcestershire sauce and it's ready to serve, with or without an egg.

Sandwiches - Reheat the thinly sliced beef in beef bullion or consomme with any of the juices. You can slice and saute an onion and a red or green pepper first if you wish, and add some herbs and seasonings. Not too much liquid - just enough to keep it moist. Pile the meat and veg onto buns that you have split and toasted and dressed with mayo or mustard and top with some Provolone or Swiss cheese.

Stroganoff - my favorite - Heat a little oil and saute some fresh mushrooms (or use canned) along with a bit of onion or garlic if you like. Add a package of instant beef or brown gravy mix and the water called for on the package. Stir to combine, then add the sliced meat and heat until the gravy has thickened and the meat is heated through. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sour cream and serve over rice or noodles. Couldn't be easier! And as Lucy says, "It's so tasty, too"!

Quotable Quotes; In the category Spread Out!

Mustard's no good without roast beef". Chico Marx, from the film Monkey Business

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