Classic Roast Beef and Gravy

*King George
My husband is one of the unfortunate few who was born on Christmas Day. Though he doesn’t see it as any big deal now that he is an adult (and the adult part is debatable), as a kid he said it was a drag. Because I find myself strangely miffed on behalf of my adolescent husband, after all the presents are opened Christmas morning we quickly turn our thoughts from Ho Ho Ho to Happy Birthday.

With birthday honors come responsibilities, though, and each year it is his responsibility to decide what we will have for dinner that Christmas-Birthday evening. Over the years, I have made some crazy stuff based on the whims of the Birthday Boy’s palette. We had a crab feed once. There was also a Birthday Paella. A few years ago I roasted a goose (I don’t think we’ll do that one again). I have also made Rack of Lamb a number of times, as it is one of his favorites.

This year, we’re going easy and classic due the fact that we are both just too tired to deal. The menu for his 45th is Classic Roast Beef and Gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sautéed Mushrooms with a salad thrown in to combat the cholesterol and butter. And then there’s the wine…

A really good roast beef is very easy to make. They key is to cook it low and slow, and not mess with it to much. Rub it with salt and pepper and maybe some chopped fresh herbs, and you’re good. Shove it in the oven and walk away. Comeback a few hours later and dinner is served. Any leftovers you have make a great sandwich for lunch the next day.

Here is my all time favorite recipe for roast beef from Cooks Country Magazine. It includes a mushroom gravy but I only make that occasionally…if I’m in the mood. 

Classic Roast Beef and Gravy
Adapted from Cooks Country Magazine
Serves 6 to 8

Cooks Country Magazine says that for the best flavor and texture, you should refrigerate the roast overnight after salting. If you don’t have a V-rack, cook the roast on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.

4-pound top sirloin roast (chateaubriand), with the fat trimmed to 1/4 Inch thick
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
2 onions, chopped fine
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pat the roast dry with paper towels, and rub 2 teaspoons salt evenly over the surface of the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour—or leave it in the fridge overnight, and up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position, and heat the oven to 275º F. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, and rub it with 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in large Dutch oven, over medium-high, heat until the oil is just smoking.

Brown the roast all over (about 8 to 12 minutes). And then transfer it to a V-rack set inside the roasting pan (do not bother to wipe out your Dutch oven). Transfer the roast to the oven and cook until meat registers 125º F. If you want your roast medium-rare, cook it for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Adjust cooking time for your desired doneness.

Meanwhile, add the mushrooms to the fat in your Dutch oven and cook until golden-brown, or about 5 minutes. Stir in onions, carrot, and celery and cook until browned  (about 5 to 7 minutes). Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and flour and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Stir in wine and broth, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened (about 10 minutes).

Strain the gravy, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce, season with salt and pepper, and cover and keep warm.

Transfer the roast to cutting board, tent with foil, and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Slice the roast crosswise against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with gravy.

*This title was his suggestion, not mine!

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