I have always been a fan of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country. I follow them on Facebook and Twitter and have several of the cookbooks. I also recently started getting the Cook’s Country magazine via subscription and I have to say I really like it. The recipes are great with easy to follow steps and they give you all kinds of great cooking advice as far as techniques, pantry items and equipment. For this week, I decided to do some of the Cook’s Country recipes I have been trying lately. First up is the roast beef dinner I made last week. Luckily I picked one of the cooler days to give it a try so I could use the oven.
Grandma’s Roast Beef and Gravy
1 (4- to 5- pound) boneless top-round roast
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 celery rib, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 cans beef consomme
1 1/2 cups water
Pat the roast dry with paper towels and rub with 2 teaspoons of salt. Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 225 degrees. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and rub with 2 teaspoons of pepper. Heat the oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Brown the roast all over on all sides, about 8 to 12 minutes; transfer the roast to a plate.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the skillet and melt it over medium heat. Cook the carrots, onion and celery until they are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and the tomato paste and cook until the flour is golden and the paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, push the vegetables to the center of the pan. Place the roast on top of the vegetables and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook the roast until the meat registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent with foil and allow the meat to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, keeping in mind that the skillet handle will still be quite hot, return the skillet with vegetables to medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the consomme and water, scraping up any browned bits, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the gravy is thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the gravy through a fine mesh strainer into a serving bowl. Discard the vegetables. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
Thinly slice the roast crosswise against the grain and serve with the gravy.
Cooking the roast beef in this method made things much easier. You do a slow roasting and everything is done in just one pan, making cleanup even easier. Salting the meat helps a great deal in drawing out some of the moisture from the meat. Also, instead of flouring the meat beforehand and searing it, adding the flour to the vegetables instead helps you eliminate that pasty flavor a roast can get from raw flour and still lets you make a rich, dark gravy. You could certainly use water instead of the beef broth when making the gravy, but the broth really does help add another layer of flavor to the gravy, so I would use it. Of course, you also then have options with leftovers like making things such as open-faced roast beef sandwiches, French dip sandwiches or Philly cheesesteaks. I served the roast beef with mashed potatoes and some fresh corn on the cob and broccoli.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time to see another Cook’s Country recipe. This time I will be making the meatballs and marinara recipe that appears in one of the issues I just received. Be sure to check that one out tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!