Triumphant Wednesday Roasted Beef and Vegetables
1) A good sized oven roast, such as "Boneless Outside Round Oven Roast" that will feed 4 people. I bought one that was 1.266 kg (that's just shy of 3 lbs, y'all). It cost me $5 (watch for the sales, YO). BOO YAH
2) splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
3) 1 onion, chopped
4) 1 clove garlic
5) 1 packet beef bouillon (like OXO)
6) 3 large sweet potatoes
7) 3 decent sized white potatoes
8) 1 nice...bulb? head? thingy of fennel (turn it upside down and see that it's not all dark and rotty on the bottom, and that the stalks on top are nice and fresh)
9) 2 tbsp olive oil (plus oil for browning meat)
10) one huge, or two large carrots
11) 1 tbsp butter
12) 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (if you can't find it, just use salt)
13) loads of black pepper
prep time: 30 minutes, approximately to prepare meat for oven, and chop veg.
5 1/2 HOURS BEFORE YOU ARE READY TO EAT:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. We are going to brown this cut of beef you have. First though, inspect it for thick slabs of white fat around the outside. Slice most of it off, but leave some so's you have some flavour. In a large pan, or "dutch oven," glug in just enough olive oil to be swirled over the bottom of the pan. Turn heat on to medium high. Olive oil has a lower "smoke point," so if you prefer to use canola oil, that's fine. I do all my cooking with olive oil. When the pot is very hot, carefully lay your meat down and let brown. When you can wiggle the meat around the pot a bit, and it no longer sticks, you can turn over to the next side to brown. Continue turning, till all sides are a nice, dark brown.
When meat is browned on all sides, turn off heat, and carefully lift meat and let rest on a plate off to the side. Stand back a bit and splash some vinegar into your still-hot pot. A LOT of steam and smoke will rise into your kitchen now. Hoo boy! This is the exciting part! And yes, the vinegar and the smoking oils will smell yucko together. Don't worry, you won't be coughing vinegar fumes forever. I would recommend you have someone standing by to fan your smoke detector though. Har har. Okay, so you've splashed in the vinegar, now pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. With a wooden spoon, or metal spatula (if it's a metal pot), scrape up all those lovely dark, nearly-burnt looking bits from the bottom of the pan. Make sure you try to get all of it.
Chop your onion and place on the bottom of a casserole dish large enough to hold your meat (that doesn't sound right, somehow). Place meat on top of onions. Pour pan jus over meat and onions. Sprinkle meat with beef bouillon powder. Toss that garlic clove in. Pour in enough water so that liquid level comes half way up the meat. Put the lid on completely. If your dish has no lid, cover completely with tin foil. Put on the middle rack of your oven, and set the timer for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes is up, turn oven temp down to 325 degrees, and turn lid sideways to allow steam to vent out. After all, this is not STEAMED BEEF.
Now, after you have finished browning your beef, or when your beef is in the oven, you can chop the rest of your vegetables. Or, you can do it later, just remember you are allowing 5 hours for the beef to cook, and 3 hours for the veg to roast. The longer you roast the veg, the yummier it will be, and what the heck--you have the oven on anyway.
Chop sweet and white potatoes into chunks, leaving the skin on. The skin is GOOD FOR YOU, and it will give the sweet potatoes a surprisingly tasty crispness. Chop your carrot into thick circles. Now for the fennel. Fennel is a delicious vegetable with a slight licorice taste. This licorice taste mostly disappears during the roasting process, leaving behind a crisp, tasty veggy. So, stop looking so nervous! First, cut the stalks off the top, and discard, or use in soup stalk if you like. Cut the fennel in half and you will see the woody triangular core. Cut that core out and discard. Cut your fennel into chunks and whatever size pieces you want to eat. Put all of your vegetables into a large baking dish (10 x 12 I believe), cover with 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp butter. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning or salt if you prefer and a LOT of black pepper. Toss until all vegetables are coated with oil and spice. Cover with foil (dull side out), and set aside until you're ready to roast them.
3 hours before you want to eat, slide veg in beside your roast. Comfy, cozy. Let cook at 325 degrees for one hour covered. Remove foil after an hour, turn vegetables carefully , and then forget about them until you're ready to eat.
1/2 way through cooking time, carefully turn your meat over in the pan. Make sure liquid level is always half way up the meat. You just need to lif the lid periodicallyto check, that's all.
My beef went in the oven at 12:30 in the afternoon, and was ready at 5:00. Since I wanted to eat around 5:30, all I had left to do was make gravy. So, after four hours or so, you can begin poking your meat. Yeah, that's right, you actually give it a poke with your finger. If it feels tough, it is tough. If it starts to feel soft and spongey, you're getting there. By the 4 1/2 hour mark, that thing was yummy and tender. Take meat out of pan, and put on a clean plate. Cover with tin foil and let rest until you're nearly ready to eat.
Using a strainer, pour remaining contents of pot through said strainer, into a large bowl. Let cool for a moment. Discard squashy onions and garlic. Now, make that gravy! Print for your own reference, and follow Kraft Canada's tips on how to make perfect gravy HERE. It did NOT fail me. I was thrilled.
So, now your meat is ready. Your gravy is simmering away, and your veg is roasted to perfection. And you thought you didn't like sweet potatoes? Silly you--you forgot that EVERYTHING is good with gravy. Slice your roast, and serve up some nice veg on the side. Hey, you can even make something green to stick on the plate as well. Ladle on some gravy, and enjoy the best meal you've ever made on a Wednesday. Cheers!
Serves: 3 hungry adults, and 3 slightly fussy children, or 4 adults. You'll have meat left over for a sandwich or two, so if you want to serve more adults, just chop up another couple of potatoes.
here's everything you need, including your portable phone. Always keep THAT handy, because house work is really boring.
your lovely "dutch oven" (yes, yes, it's not 'cast iron.' Whatever)
swirl, swirl that oil
slap that meat in the smoking hot pot!
oo, look how nice and brown it's getting!
meat's out, heat's off, vinegar's in! KOFF KOFF KOFF KOFF...hack, pant... it will help tenderize your meat as it cooks...gasp gasp...smells gross...
no, it's not burnt, silly. It's BROWNED. GORGEOUSLY BROWNED.
a lovely bed of onions...aaaah...bed....
place meat *here*
good thing you scraped up all those brown bits. Your gravy's gonna ROCK
Ah garlic, my friend...
400 degrees, yo
don't be daunted. It's only fennel.
here's your nice, sunshiney coloured veg
mix it all together
your whole dinner is doing it's thing in the oven. Looks like you've got some free time smack dab in the middle of the afternoon...how should you spend it???
Your meat is cooked to perfection. TENT IT and let it snooze.
you printed out that easy gravy recipe, right? whisk, whisk...
You, my friend, are a freaking genius. You could have put something green on there though, but you'll be getting loads of beta carotene.