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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Like Rome before the fall


My friend Priscilla and I have one of those bonds where we can tell one joke and retell and laugh about it for 4 hours. She's pregnant, and told me that there was nothing she wanted so much as roast beef and yorkshire pudding, so I obliged.

There is nothing I like so much as cooking all day, so this was an exciting event. It was made doubly exciting/stressful because I have never made a roast before. It's surprisingly easy, if you get the timing right. I will share with you what to put in when to make the timing (and all the dishes) perfect:

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

1 2-3lb roast, tied.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/ 1/4 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3 large eggs
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock

Start the night before you are making the roast. Season beef with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic. Rub beef with the herb mixture. Place beef in a small roasting pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove beef from the refrigerator 2 hours before you are ready to roast, allowing it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the yorkshire pudding batter: Whisk together milk, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and eggs in a bowl. Cover, let batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 500. Remove plastic wrap and roast beef until browned, 18-20 mins. Reduce temperature to 250. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of beef reads 120, about 25 mins per pound is the standard measurement.

At this point, I made these:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

5-6 (or more, depending on how many you are feeding) large white or red potatoes
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
6-7 pearl onions, peeled
2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary leaves

Cut the potatoes in small chunks and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onions and rosemary, toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Place in the oven that's been reduced to 250. Roast for about 1 hour or until browned and crisp.

Remove the roast from oven transfer to a cutting board, and let rest, tented with foil. Increase temperature of oven to 350 to finish roasting the potatoes. Remove potatoes after about 20 minutes.

Raise the temperature to 450. Take a non-stick muffin pan and place 1/2 tsp drippings from the roast pan into each cup. Place in the oven until hot. Pour batter evenly between cups, bake until risen and brown, about 10 mins, reduce heat to 350 to set puddings and bake for 10 mins more.

Make the gravy. Heat reserved roasting pan over medium heat. Add 1 large finely chopped shallot, cook until soft, about 5 mins. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour and 1 cup beef stock. Cook, whisking until thick. Remove from heat and transfer to a gravy boat.

At this point I fried up a little asparagus in a few tbsps of water and butter and lemon juice in a pan on the stove, then turned everything off, placed it on the table, and carved her up. Yes ma'am.

And that, my friends, is how the timing is done on a roast beef dinner. You're welcome.

P and I had a blast making this, although I did overcook the yorkshire, but I can tell you why: Lately I've really been struggling with allergies, and so before P came over I popped a couple Benadryl I'd just picked up at the store. I'd never taken them before so I didn't know that they make you drop dead exhausted/stoned. P brought me red wine so I had some and didn't realize you were not supposed to mix the two. By the time I carved the roast I didn't even know my own name. So, naturally, while the text in my recipe book was swimming around the page, I forgot/didn't see/I-was-way-too-stoned-to-know-what-the-fuck-was-happening that I was supposed to add milk to the yorkshires, so they were a little, well, hard. But they still had great flavour and everything gets soft when you drown it in gravy, which I emphatically did.

Stella even had a little too (if by having, you count climbing on the table and straight-up stealing because my mind had no concept of shapes or depth perception so I couldn't grab her elusive little body. BUT WHATEVER). And although it was pretty garlicky, she made that smacking noise with the side of her mouth while chewing, you know the one cats do, hhhyawing hhhyawing hhhyawing, which means she really enjoyed it. 

It's a lot of work but so worth it. Maybe try it for Christmas? Skip the Benadryl, though.


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