for british eyes only...

around christmas time last year I made my first prime rib. ever. and while it was glorious, it was pretty darn expensive (expect to pay anywhere from $10 per pound on up to ridiculous $$ per pound if you get the prime rated stuff).  Lately, I had been craving some roast beef like it was nobody's business.  However, since I can't just go rib-roasting it up all the time, I needed to find an alternative cut to satisfy my beef needs.
On the whole, the british aren't really known for their food, but one thing that they know how to do  is roast a beef treat.  I discovered that while they do love their rib roasts, they are also fond of top round roasts. this seemed more my speed.  so I headed to the store to see what I could find and EUREKA!! top round roast spotted, not to mention EUREKA EUREKA!! 9 dollars. that's about 5 times less coin than a rib roast of the same weight.  While I was excited at this bargain, I was also pretty skeptical.  Was this going to taste good at all, I mean you get what you pay for right?  I was scared that without all of the intra-muscular fat and marbling that I was going to be feasting on something closer to resembling hydrated jerky than basking in the beef nirvana of my dreams.
But I figured that at this point 9 bucks was 9 bucks.  that was the beauty of this whole experiment.  It wasn't like I had coughed up 50+ clams for this thing, so I dove right in.  I basically went about this like I do for any roasty treats,  Veg-pile (you can call it whatever you like.  how about veg-bed, or veg-rack, or you could even call it a veg-table...ahem...), salt and peps, some herbage, throw on the well seasoned meat (always, ALWAYS, fat-side up). and roast away.  Cooked to med-rare, thinly sliced, and smothered with gravy goodness, this was fantastic!  It was the roast beef I had been looking for.  while it was much leaner than the rib roast I had made earlier, it was equally delicious, just in a different way. It was a bit chewier, but in the best way possible. I like to think of it as the beef just taking the long way home.  
Psst...Do you like gravy? If your answer is no, then you can leave this blog right now and never come back!!!...Still here?  I thought so. ok, I have a trick I use for gravy every time. remember that veg pile we rested the meat on? of course you do.  It looked so pretty before, but now it kinda looks like  complete annihilation...that's just fine.  it's probably swimming in beef fat. and needs to be drained of about 90 percent of that.  I drained my beef fat into a pot, added about a spoonful of flour and made a quick roux, and then added stock to the pan of veg, and smashed it up. put the roasting pan with the veg over your burners on high heat, add the roux and add some booze (wine, ale, sherry, port, whatever) or more stock , and then whisk and mix it all up together, scraping up the tasties from the bottom. lower heat and let it reduce to your liking and then pour through a strainer.  Now that's a gravy you can be proud of! 
A proper Bloke's Roast Beef (adapted from jamie oliver, he's british, I kind of figured it was a safe play)
preheat oven to 475 (do this now, it's important that your oven is crazy hot at the get go)
for veg pile:

2 onions rough chop
2 carrots ""
2 celery stalks ""
couple turnips or parsnips ""
garlic cloves (to your liking, you can use the whole head if you want), left whole
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 handful Simon and Garfunkel (parsley, sage, you get the rest...)
for herb paste:
6 good sized sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs sage
4 sprigs thyme
4-5 cloves garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
the rest:(or in this case, the roast)

3-4 pound top round roast

In a good sized roasting pan or a large skillet,  add the chopped veg and herbs.  season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. toss well and set aside.
to make the herb paste, mince all the herbs and garlic together and add a couple healthy pinches of salt and pepper.  add to a a bowl and drizzle in some oil.  just enough to make it paste like, not swimming. rub this on the meat and then (I know sounds like a lot) salt and pepper the meat again, but don't go overboard. place meat on top of veg stand and either let hang out in the fridge until you are ready to roast, or go for it at this moment (this VERY moment!!!!).  put pan in oven (in middle rack) and lower heat to 400F.  if you are using a dig-thermometer (like the one i linked up there) make sure to put it in before you put the beef in the oven, it's sort of crucial to your cause (never again...) if you don't have one, don't sweat it, you can get it close by roasting around one hour for medium.  If you want med-rare, just take it out around 10-15 min. earlier. and so on. baste the beef around the halfway mark and if the veggies are starting to dry out, you can add a splash of water to the pan to prevent burnage. once roasted to your desired doneness, take the pan out of the oven and let the roast rest on a cutting board (at least 15 minsok. this is normal. pour this stuff into your gravy.  you thriftster, you...
serve with roast veggies (not posting a recipe, but what you can do here is par-boil some root veg and then toss them with oil and salt and peps and when you pull the roast out, put these in and then turn the oven to 450 to finish them off and get some color. should be done around the time everything else is).
or mashed tates. or just serve them with your favorite sides.

DISH recommends: all-clad lasagna pan. this pan says it's for lasagna, but so far has met all of my roasting needs. and it's way cheaper than their roasting pans and only like an inch smaller.  check it.
ps--like the new look?  hope so.  mames gave me a much needed make-over.  hope to actually get organized around here...


Amy said...

The gravy is the best part. I remember asking for more. A lot more. :)

Nancy said...

Love the new look, Steve-o. The beef looks fabulous as well!