For me, roast beef dinners bring back memories of family meals on special occasions from when I was was growing up. Despite the fact that roast beef is one of my favourite meals I find that I rarely make it since moving into my own place. A few weeks ago Canada Beef hosted an informational session about roast beef that I had the opportunity to attend and it reminded me of my passion for roast beef and got me craving it once again! During the session Canadian Beef shared with us all of the tricks and techniques that they have picked up about how to make the perfect roast beef at home every time and I used them to make this roast beef dinner.
First off, lets make the distinction between the two different kinds of roast beef, the oven roast and the pot roast. The oven roast is dry roasted with no liquids and it is best to use a nice and tender cut of meat such as the tenderloin, prime rib, strip loin, sirloin tip, etc. and it is typically roasted for a shorter period of time, just until the beef reaches the desired done-ness. The pot roast on the other hand is roasted in a liquid and since it is roasted long and slow until the meat becomes tender, you can start off with a tougher cut of beef such as the blade, shoulder or brisket. Today I plan on talking about the oven roast as I was craving some of that medium rare roast beefy goodness!
Once you have chosen the cut of beef that you want and you have brought it home, you are going to want to keep it in the fridge right until you want to roast it. If the meat came tied up, leave the string on it as it can help ensure even cooking. (ie. The tenderloin can be thinner at one end and the butcher will often fold the thinner side over and tie it up so that both ends of the meat are roughly the same thickness.) When you are ready to roast the beef you want to pull it out of the fridge, pat it dry and then season is with salt and pepper or your favourite beef seasoning blend.
Before we get too far ahead, lets take some time to talk about the equipment that is required to make your roast. First you are going to need a roasting pan and preferably one that works on the stove top in addition to in the oven. You are also going to want the pan to have a rack to keep the meat off of the bottom of the pan. The metal pan will transfer heat to the beef much faster than the air surrounding the rest of the roast so it will cook much faster and you certainly do not want it to burn. I have never been very good at telling when the roast is done by visual inspection or by touching it and since I want my roast to be perfectly medium-rare each and every time, I rely on an oven safe meat thermometer.
Place that meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, and put the roast into the roasting pan. If the meat has a cap of fat, place the roast in the pan with the fat cap on the top. All that is left at this point is to cook the roast and we are going to start by roasting it at a higher temperature for a little while after which we will reduce the temperature and let the roast to continue to cook low and slow until it is done.
One of the best parts of the roast beef is the slightly caramelized outside and to get that we want to keep moisture away and prevent steaming the meat. Roasting at the higher temperature at first will help with the channelization and starting with a dry piece of meat is important. You are also not going to want to add any other vegetables to the pan and you are not going to use a lid on the pan.
Once the roast is done cooking, pull it out of the oven, cover it in foil and let it rest for a few minutes before carving it. While you are waiting for the beef to rest you can take the opportunity to make a gravy! Depending on how long you cooked the roast for and how juicy it was there can be anything from lots of drippings left in the pan to almost nothing. If there is a lot of drippings leftover you can skim off most of the fat and if the pan was bone dry with a thin layer of brown bits on the bottom don't fret as you can still make an amazing gravy. Throw the roasting pan onto the stove over medium heat and once it is hot, add a cup of wine, broth or stock to the pan and let it simmer while you work all of those flavour full brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Once you have the pan deglazed you can add more broth or stock and continue simmering to reduce it and concentrate the flavour. To thicken the gravy you can mix some corn starch into cold water and then mix that into the gravy. Of course you are going to want to season the gravy with salt and pepper and at this point you can add any other ingredients that you want to build up flavour. If there was little or no fat in the drippings you can add a touch of butter and if you prefer you gravy to be smooth you can strain it before serving it.
Really, making an amazing roast beef dinner at home is super easy taking very little hands on time despite the fact that it will need to roast for a while. Once you get the roast into the oven you can move onto doing something else or you can concentrate on making some sides. I served this roast beef dinner with some roasted red pepper and feta mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts with smoked bacon, mustard cream and a parmesan crust and of course no roast beef dinner would be complete without Yorkshire pudding .
The Perfect Roast Beef
Roast beef is an amazing treat whether for special occasions or just for a nice family meal and with this easy recipe you can make the perfect roast beef every time.
- 1 oven roast beef such as sirloin tip, top sirloin, strip loin, etc.
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pat the beef dry, rub the salt and pepper all over it, place it in an oven safe roasting dish and stick a meat thermometer into the middle of the thickest part.
- Roast in a preheated 450F oven for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 275F and continue roasting until the temperature reaches the desired done-ness. (see chart below)
- Remove the roast from the oven and set aside to rest, covered.
- Drain all but one or two tablespoons of any grease and heat the roasting pan over medium heat.
- Add the red wine and deglaze the pan.
- Add the broth and simmer to reduce by half.
- Mix the corn starch into the water, add to the gravy and simmer until it thickens.
- Remove from heat, mix in the butter and season with salt and pepper.
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