Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Roast Beef

Sunday lunch is a thing in UK when the family members and grandparents alike gather to have a proper lunch together at home, prepared with love and shared with much joy. I didn't grow up eating alot of meals together with my parents and brothers on one table and I remember I loved it very much every first morning of the Chinese New Year celebration when we all got to sit together on the dining table and feast on lovely and varieties of food. Although we were a family of little words, the warm feeling of being able to sit next to each other while our chopsticks and spoons slowly savoring the yummy food was very comforting. I hope to start the Sunday lunch tradition with my kids this year and expose them to more varieties of food besides the usual staples of rice and noodle.

I think what most people fear about preparing roast beef is producing a piece of tough and dry meat that simply tire the teeth of chewing and spoils the natural taste of the beef. After reading many tips from my magazines and watching chefs doing it on TV, I thought I might give it a go. And true enough, there was nothing complicated about a simple roast beef, flavored with a mixture of rubs and herbs, slowly roasted at a constant temperature of 380F for more than 1 hour. The tips that I found very useful when I prepared this beef roast are:
 (i) Don't ever marinate the meat with salt overnight as it drains out the natural juices and will produce a dry and tough meat;
(ii)Always know the weigh of the meat itself so that you can set the roasting time right and
(iii)Cover the meat with aluminum foil once it has been cooked in accordance to the time specified and let it sit at room temperature for at least 20 mins for its juices to finish cooking the meat itself, which produces a juicy and tender medium rare meat.

On the roasting time part, the rule as recommended by Good Food Magazine is 15mins per 450g plus extra 20 mins for a medium rare piece. And so my piece of Boneless Top Round roast was almost 3lbs (appx. 1350g) and I roasted it for about 1 hour 10 mins. I just mixed the potatoes, carrots, green beans, with grated garlic and minced shallot in another pan and put them into the same temperature oven for 35 minutes of roasting. To cook it faster and evenly, always place on the bottom rack. If you need to use a meat thermometer, only poke it in after the 20 minutes resting period as that will be more accurate than at the time when you first taken it out from the oven. I simply used 1 tbsp of a mixed rub that I had in my pantry with 1/2 tsp of cumin powder and ground black pepper and marinated the meat overnight. As the rub already had salt in it, I didn't see the need to further season the meat with salt on the day of baking. I used a few sprigs of Thyme and it is such a lovely herb, milder than Rosemary and yet fragrant. The dish was a hit with the kids and Curry and Miss E already told me that she wants a Sunday lunch every week! Good start.