Thursday, 15 November 2007

Braised Beef with Onion Sauce

I don't always know what to do with big cuts of meats. My early adult cooking years involved a lot more ground and stewing beef than roasts and steaks (and not even much of those, thanks to a $15 per week grocery budget that lasted for over a decade.) However, since now-more-prosperous we have made the decision to get a quarter of organic beef each year, I have been faced with a number of such items every year. The steaks didn't take long to adapt to (although I am still too inclined to overcook them, grrr) but roasts have been more of a challenge. This is my latest way to cook the tougher roasts, such as rump roast, sirloin tip, chuck, round, etc. Basically, any of the roasts that come from the fore or hind quarters - the muscles that do the heavy lifting and have more connective tissues. It takes a fair bit of time to cook such a roast, but there is very little actual work involved.

When I started doing this, I would brown the roast first, but I don't think it makes that much difference to the flavour, certainly not enough to justify the huge clouds of smoke that would waft through the house and linger for days. So now I don't.

4 to 6 servings
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours - 20 minutes prep time

First the roast is seasoned and packaged in foil with sliced onions.

Once it is cooked, it should rest for about 10 minutes while the onion sauce is prepared and the rest of the meal is finished.

Then it gets sliced and served with the onion sauce.

Yum! It's a feast!

1 beef roast, about 2 to 3 kilos (4 to 6 pounds)
aluminum foil to wrap

2 or 3 medium-large onions
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 or 3 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
2 or 3 teaspoons sea salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons flour

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Remove the beef from the refrigerator to bring it up towards room temperature.

Peel the onions, and slice them. Crush or grind the black pepper and mix it with the salt and paprika.

Lay a large piece of aluminum foil in your roasting pan. Lay down in the middle of it 1 or 2 bay leaves, and about 1/3 of the onion slices. Set the roast on top, and rub it all over with the mixed seasonings. Add any juices that have accumulated around the roast. Pack the rest of the onion slices and another bay leaf around the meat. Drizzle in the water around the bottom of the roast. Seal the meat into the foil, such that it hopefully will not leak.

Bake the roast at 300°F for at least 3 hours; longer for a larger roast and longer if you want a well-done roast, although unless your roast is huge I would think 4 1/2 hours would be the longest likely time. I prefer to keep my roast fairly rare; it makes leftovers - guaranteed in a 2 person household - a more pleasant experience by and large. The outside slices should be plenty done for anyone who prefers their beef well done.

At any rate, at the appointed time remove the roast from the oven. Undo the foil and put the roast on a carving dish. Scrape the onions and all the juices - congealed or not - from the meat into a food processor - but remove the bay leaves - and cover the meat loosely with the foil. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before carving it.

Meanwhile, add the flour to the juices and onions, and purée them thoroughly. Put this sauce back into a pot, and bring it to a boil on the stove. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Slice the beef and serve with the onion sauce.

1 comment:

Katerina said...

Wow, this is so easy! I never would have thought to puree the onions into a sauce, great idea!