Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen:
Sunday Roasts

It hasn’t been a harsh winter across North America to date, but it’s still the time of year most suited to preparing a comforting, flavorful roast for dinner. Betty Rosbottom’s Sunday Roasts offers up exquisite tasting dishes that are easy to make and bound to impress you and your fellow diners.

Let us know what you think of these recipes by leaving a comment below, and you’ll be eligible to win one of THREE copies of Betty’s Sunday Roasts that will be given away to randomly selected posters. Good luck! (Giveaway available to readers in the US and Canada.)

The Perfect Sunday Roast

Studded with garlic and seasoned with a simple rub, this boneless top sirloin roast is browned, and then placed in the oven along with a separate tray of red onion wedges and creminis. When served, the rosy pink beef slices are drizzled with a pan sauce, topped with thin slices of blue cheese, and surrounded with roasted vegetables. This roast needs only about an hour in the oven, and when done, both the tender meat and slightly charred vegetables boast a deep and richly satisfying flavor.

One 4-lb/1.8-kg boneless top sirloin roast (see market note)
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and cut into very thin slivers
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp plus 1/2 cup/120 ml olive oil, plus more for oiling the pans
3 medium red onions (about 1 1/2 lb/680 g)
12 oz/340 g brown mushrooms such as creminis, cleaned and, if large, halved
1 1/2 cups/360 ml reduced-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup/180 ml dry red wine
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress
A 4-oz/115-g wedge of blue cheese

1. Pat the roast dry with paper towels/absorbent paper. Using a sharp paring knife, make slits over the entire surface of the roast and insert the garlic slivers. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 3 tbsp of the oil. Brush this mixture on all sides of the roast. (The roast can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.)

2. Arrange one rack at center position and another at a lower position and preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C/gas 8.

3. Lightly oil the bottom of a medium, flameproof roasting pan/tray and stand the roast, fat-side up, in the center of the pan (see tip). Roast the meat for 15 minutes.

4. While the meat is roasting, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Oil a large, rimmed baking sheet/tray generously. Peel the onions and cut them into wedges 3/4 in/2 cm thick, leaving the root ends intact. Arrange the onions on half of the baking sheet/tray and the mushrooms on the other half and drizzle both with the remaining 1/2 cup/120 ml olive oil. Toss the vegetables lightly to coat well, adding more oil if necessary. Salt and pepper the vegetables.

5. After the meat has roasted for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F/180°C/gas 4 and place the pan with the vegetables on the lower shelf. Continue to roast the beef until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130 to 135°F/55 to 57°C, for 50 to 60 minutes. Roast the vegetables, stirring every 15 minutes, until slightly browned and charred around the edges, for 50 to 60 minutes.

6. When done, transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. If the vegetables are not done when the roast is, continue roasting a few minutes more, checking every 5 minutes, until done. Remove the vegetables and tent them with foil to keep warm.

7. Skim off and discard any fat in the roasting pan/tray. Place the pan/tray over medium-high heat, and add the broth and wine. With a wire whisk, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the liquids. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and reduce by half. Then swirl in the butter. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Cut the roast, crosswise against the grain, into slices 1/4 in/6mm thick and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish the platter with bouquets of watercress and surround the meat with the onions and mushrooms. Drizzle the sliced meat with some sauce and pass extra separately. Top each serving with a thin slice of blue cheese.

Serves 6 to 8

Market note: Ask your butcher for a roast cut from the top portion of the sirloin. These are more tender and sometimes referred to as “spoon roasts.”

Cooking tip: This particular cut of beef sometimes tips over as it roasts. To prevent this, use a roasting rack with sides that you can adjust to steady the meat.

Prep time: 15 minutes for the roast, plus 15 minutes for the vegetables while the roast is in the oven

Start-to-finish time: 1 hour, 50 minutes, including resting time for cooked meat

Sides: Pair this roast with the recipe for Golden Potato Gratin, below.

Leftover tip: Sliced leftover beef is delicious used in sandwiches made with good peasant bread or a baguette. Slather some Dijon mustard on the bread, top with leftover roast beef, crumble any remaining blue cheese over, and add some watercress sprigs or a few arugula/rocket or baby spinach leaves plus some sliced tomatoes.

Golden Potato Gratin

For this scrumptious gratin, three layers of sliced Yukon golds, each coated with crème fraîche and heavy/double cream and seasoned with a hint of thyme, are baked until crisp and golden on top and fork-tender beneath. This dish can be made completely in advance, and then reheated quickly at serving time.

1 tbsp unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
1 1/2 cups/360 ml crème fraîche
1/3 cup/75 ml heavy/double cream
3 lb/1.4 kg Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-in/3-mm thick rounds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6.

2. Butter a 3 1/2- to 4-quart/3.3- to 3.8-L oven-to-table baking dish generously (a 9-by-13-in/23-by-33-cm dish works well).

3. In a medium bowl whisk together the crème fraîche and the cream.

4. Arrange one-third of the potato slices in the bottom of the prepared pan, overlapping them slightly. Season them generously with salt and pepper and with 1/2 tsp of the thyme. Spread one-third of the crème fraîche mixture over the potatoes. Repeat to make 2 more layers.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F/180°C/gas 4 and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife and the top is golden brown, for about 25 minutes more. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. (The gratin can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cool, cover loosely with foil, and leave at cool room temperature. Reheat, uncovered, in a preheated 350°F/180°C/gas 4 oven until hot, for about 15 minutes.)

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Start-to-finish time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, including resting time for the gratin

Peter Perez
Associate Director, Marketing

Purchase: Sunday Roasts: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering Roasts, from Old-Fashioned Pot Roasts to Glorious Turkeys and Legs of Lamb.

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