Thursday, May 03, 2012

balsamic-marinade beef with roast veg and cheesy mashed potatoes

One of the simplest meals to make is a roast (of any kind) with some carbs and vegetables. It's a staple meal for me, and it's the ultimate comfort food. I grew up on these meals.

For the Roast:

Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary (or other herb of your choosing)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 small beef roast (mine was about 2 - 3 pounds but I'll give you per-pound cooking times)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups liquid
    • My preference for gravy is always the starchy cooking water from potatoes, but you can do plain water, beef stock, wine, juice or a combination. It just needs to be liquid.
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, mix together everything but the beef.
  2. Place beef in a ziploc freezer bag. Pour your marinade in the bag. Seal the bag.
  3. Throw it in the fridge for a couple of hours, the longer the better. Overnight is cool. If you can only do it for an hour or two, though, that's ok.
  4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450*F. Remove the roast from the fridge, take it out of your marinade bag and place it in a cast iron skillet, dutch oven or other roasting vessel.
  5. When the oven is nice and hot, pop the roast and set the timer for fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes of in an extra-hot oven will help sear the outside without separately searing it.
  6. Reduce the heat to 350*F and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130*F (for medium rare), measured with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast.
    1. I'm not going to tell you how long to cook your beef. I'm sorry. Medium rare beef will, generally speaking, take about 25 minutes a pound. Everybody likes their meat cooked a little differently, though. Your best friend is a meat thermometer.
  7. Remove your roast from the oven. Place the roast on a new plate or cutting board and cover in tin foil to rest, for about twenty minutes. This lets the juices settle in the roast.
  8. While your roast is resting, work on your gravy. Put your pan onto the burner and add the flour, wisking together thoroughly with the drippings. You'll want to wisk it for a couple of minutes to let the flour cook out.
  9. Gradually add the liquid, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Thoroughly wisk in to incorporate. This part needs to go slowly, otherwise things get lumpy. Add a little liquid, make sure everything is evenly mixed up, repeat.
  10. Once you have your desired amount of gravy, give 'er a taste test. At this point you are checking the thickness of the sauce (if it's too thin, reduce it at a low simmer, if too thick, add more liquid) and taste (you may want/need to add more salt, stock or any of the marinade ingredients to brighten this up.)
  11. Adjust the gravy as necessary.
  12. Carve up your roast and serve, with accompaniments.

Roasted Mixed Broccoli & Carrots

Ingredients:
  • 1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Direction:
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Evenly spread the broccoli and carrots in a casserole or baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes. (Note: if you are making this with above roast beef recipe, put this in the oven during the final 40 minutes of cooking.)
  4. Turn the veggies over about halfway through cooking to heat more evenly.
  5. Enjoy.
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
  • 3 - 4 medium Yukon Gold potato (Idaho will do in a pinch, but I'm a Canuck. I use Canadian potatoes.)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 - 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Peel & cut potatoes into roughly equal chunks.
  2. Place in a small sauce pan, cover with water. Add the salt. Cover your saucepan.
  3. Bring the pot to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes. Note: if you are making the above roast & gravy, reserve the potato water for the gravy.
  5. Add butter to the pot, put a lid on it and let the butter melt for a few minutes.
  6. Using a hand masher (or other smashing method of your choosing) smash everything.
  7. Add the cheese and milk. Stir them through.
  8. Eat. Enjoy.

And, that's dinner for ya. It's a fairly run of the mill meal around here. If you want to make this a set it and forget it type of meal (my favourite) swap out the cheesy mashed potatoes for some roast fingerlings.

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