Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Early Mother's Day Sunday Roast

I was doing my regular Saturday afternoon cooking show-watching when a Jamie Oliver show about making a proper roast dinner inspired me. I thought: I want a roast dinner. No, I thought: I want to make a roast dinner. The only thing is I rarely make big meals because it's just the two of us to eat it. Then I had another idea: I'll make a big roast dinner and invite my mom and dad over. Then we decided to invite my boyfriend's parents over too. I had the perfect excuse to cook a big meal.

So I went out to the stores and picked up a freshly-butchered top sirloin beef roast (boneless), potatoes, carrots, some rosemary and brussel sprouts. Then I called up the folks and invited them over. Done and done. I was all stalked up and ready for the next day's cooking and eating.

Then I went out. It was Saturday night after all. I stayed up late and by the time I awoke and got going on Sunday I was no longer inspired by Jamie's roast dinner tv special. The last thing I wanted to do was cook all day. I just wanted some cereal and coffee and maybe to go back to bed. But, I didn't and I now I realize a roast dinner is probably the easiest thing to cook to impress a crowd (of parents and in-laws even). Here's how it works:

Take the roast out of the fridge and let it un-chill for a bit while you peel and slice about three onions in half, peel a half dozen garlic cloves and cut up about six carrots (chunky slices, nothing fancy). Put the onions on the bottom of the roast pan and put the carrots and garlic cloves around them. Drizzle everything with olive oil.

Take some fresh rosemary off the stem and chop it up. Then take the meat and slather it with some mustard, Worcestershire sauce and the rosemary. You'll want to sear the meat in a frying pan first on all sides and then transfer the meat to the roasting pan and put it on top of the onions. This keeps the meat from burning to the bottom and lets the onions become all juicy from the meat drippings. Sounds a little squeamish but it's good!

Then you chuck it all into the oven at 350 for about an hour and a bit (this sentence was very inspired by Jamie). Just make sure you check it every so often. You can use a meat thermometer and take it out when the meat is at 160. Or you can take the meat out when it just barely springs back at the thickest part (the more spring-y it is the less done/cooked it is). This will give you medium-well done meat. Then let the meat rest covered for about 20 mins. Fire the veggies back in if the carrots aren't soft enough or let them rest covered too.

The meat will come up a couple degrees while it sits and resting it gives its juices a chance to redistribute so the roast will be nice and juicy.

I think I got the most compliments during dinner for the potatoes and they were the easiest part! I had multi-coloured fingerling potatoes. Dump the potatoes into another pan (unpeeled), drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and let roast alongside the meat until soft on the inside but crispy on the outside. Put the potatoes in about 40 minutes before the meat comes out and it should all be ready about the same time.

For the brussel sprouts I tired an idea I got from Jacques Pepin. First you take your handy-dandy food processor and feed the cleaned little brussel sprout balls through the slicer. Cut up a couple strips of bacon and fry that in a pan to render its fat and crisp the bacon. Then add the shaved brussel sprouts and cook the mixture until it's slightly softened. Easy and delish. This side dish comes together fast so you can start it after everything comes out of the oven and is resting.

As an added bonus you can whip up a jus sauce from meat drippings. What I did though was mix some mayo (or you can use Greek yogurt or sour cream), mustard and more chopped rosemary together for a sauce. Just a nice finishing touch to your table and meal.

All that's left is carve the roast and serve your impressive (but easy) meal. I speak from experience here: I did this meal in about two hours and it received rave reviews from not one, but two moms! Now that's a good Sunday.

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