There is something special about Sunday dinner. I could cook and serve the exact same meal any other night of the week, and the effect would be lost. Maybe it’s the full 48 hours of relaxation leading up to the tradition, or maybe it’s because Sunday is our Sabbath, or maybe a bit of both. Perhaps the most lovable trait about a feast on Sunday evening is that if you play your cards right, and roast say, a whole beef top round, you’ve got leftovers for days.
In the interest of not having to clean out our huge roasting pan by hand (we are our kitchen’s dishwasher), I’ve taken to cooking beef roasts in a cast iron skillet. A quick sear on the stove, and a hour or so in the oven yields a great crust and tender, juicy slices.
Another secret to great roast meat is in the seasoning. I’ve learned in school and by working in restaurants that being shy with salt and pepper equals nothing but bland meat. With whole cuts of meat, especially large roasts, you can’t season the meat on the inside, so you have to really season the outside. Salt, pepper, or any spice mix should be rubbed “excessively, evenly and everywhere” to quote one of my favorite chef instructors, Michael Garnero.
I also stole a notion from the butcher at my local farm market, and use a beef top round whenever I make roast beef. It is usually offered in a manageable size, priced nicely, and this particular cut has great marbling (fat weaving among the meat) to keep it moist during cooking. Especially key if your guests prefer their meat medium-well or (cringe) well-done.
Most importantly, let the roast rest before slicing it (it is Sunday after all). Take it out of the oven and forget about it for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you slice immediately, all the savory, succulent juices will end up on your cutting board, instead of in your mouth where they belong. And trust me, leftover, but still juicy roast beef makes a great meal any day of the week.
- 3-4 pound beef top round, tied and at room temperature
- 3 Tbs canola oil
- Kosher salt, black pepper, or spice rub of choice
- 2 cups beef or veal stock
- 2 large red beets
- ½ cup apple cider
- 2 ea zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise, then into ¼-inch half moons
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- Butter, unsalted, for vegetables
- 1 tsp sea salt, to finish
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Season beef generously with salt and pepper or spice rub. Tie with butcher’s twine in three places, evenly spaced apart. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Sear beef on all sides to a dark golden brown.
- Transfer beef to oven, and cook to desired internal temperature, about 40 minutes for medium (internal temperature of 140° F). When squeezed on both sides with two fingers, the meat should give to pressure, but not feel flimsy or too soft. Remove from oven, and rest covered with foil for 15 minutes.
- Place skillet over medium-high heat on stove and add beef stock. Reduce the stock by half, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to release drippings. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Boil them covered by two inches of salted water until they are tender. Cool, and remove skin with peeler. Slice into ¼-inch rounds, and reheat in a pan with apple cider. Season to taste with salt.
- In a small amount of butter over medium heat, sauté squash until it begins to brown. Add tomatoes and cook until they begin to wilt. Garnish with fresh thyme.
- To serve, slice beef thinly against the grain (see above), and serve with pan jus. Grind more fresh black pepper and sprinkle sea salt over beef, if desired. Leftover beef can be stored wrapped in plastic for up to a week.
Sadie Mae’s Dogtography
It’s beef, so go figure.