Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roast Beef Recipe

At the Island City Art Walk on Friday night I had the chance to sit and chat with artist Julie Shen and her husband Chris.  We all got on quite well and as you might expect after reading this blog, I started talking about food and recipes.  Julie said that she hadn't eaten much beef before moving to the country, and her husband Chris said that he rarely eats red meat and could "take it or leave it".  My usual comment of "you haven't had it done right" in reference to the red meat came out without thinking about it, and I launched into a discussion of this Roast Beef that we make here for special occasions. 

This recipe is time consuming, and decidedly old school.  If you are going to do it, do it right though... or as I said "Honor the animal that died placing the food on your table". 

It turns a Bottom Round or a Sirloin Tip into something bordering a Boeuf Bourguignon or Beef with Wine sauce.  Instead of using a red wine one time, we had run out.  Remembering the rule that you never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, I chimed in and said "Use My Port"!  This addition of the sweet Port Wine brought the dish to a completely new level. 

Everyone who we have ever served this masterpiece has been amazed at it, and frankly I tend to let the making of the gravy to Kevin since it's complex and fiddly and so very entertaining to watch.  When it is all done though, Beaver Cleaver's Mom couldn't do a better meal.

The sandwiches the next day with a dollop of Port Wine Gravy on some crusty bread are amazing, and if you have some properly strong horseradish stuck in the back of the refrigerator, you will want to find it along with a slab of extra sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese.   The Beef will freeze well as will the gravy and you'll have enough sandwiches for weeks!

This is the body of the email that we had sent to the near-vegetarian Chris this morning, reproduced in it's entirety:

Roast Beef

You will need

Reynolds Brown In Bag  (Large size or Turkey size)
6 - 7 lb bottom round or sirloin tip roast.  Butcher should tie it to a uniform size.  If you don't have access to a butcher,  Whole foods will do it also.
Adobo  (Either Goya or Badia)
Instant Read Oven Thermometer
Ruby Port Wine
3 bay leaves
2 large sweet onions cut in quarters
Worcestershire sauce
Beef Base
(Better then bullion is usually pretty good)
Kitchen Bouquet gravy thickener
Bag of organic baby carrots
Start by placing 1 T of flour in the Brown in Bag and coat the inside with it. 
Place the Brown in Bag in a large roasting pan.
Take your roast and season with adobo on all sides
Place roast in the center of the bag towards the bottom in the pan
Add to bag around the roast (but not on top)
  Bay Leaves
  1 1/4 cup Ruby Port Wine

Roast in oven at 325 degrees for the correct amount of time.  You want the inside of the roast to be at least 160F - this usually means about 30 minutes per lb. (at least)

Once the roast is cooked carefully take it out of the steaming hot bag (an interesting experience in itself), place it on a serving dish and cover to keep warm.   You will want it to sit at least 20 minutes before cutting in to it.

Now,  make the pan gravy.

  1. Dump everything in the bag into the roasting pan on the stove top.
  2. Carefully pick out all the carrots and place in a serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
  3. Take 4 T of flour and mix with 1/2 cup of water in a cocktail shaker
  4. Turn on burners under the pan (you usually have to straddle two burners here)
  5. add one teaspoon of beef base to the pan
  6. Don't let the gravy come to a boil just yet but it should be steaming
  7. Add flour mixture and stir it all in to mix.
  8. at this point you want to keep stirring and heating until the mixture has gotten thicker
  9. Once mixture is thicker,  add
  •   1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
  •    1 t kitchen bouquet
  •    pepper to taste

let cook a few more minutes stirring
dump entire contents into a blender and blend for a few seconds until smooth.

Enjoy !

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