When it comes to comfort food, Quay and I align a lot. We share a desire for things that both of our families cooked while growing up, even though Pennsylvania and Florida are so far apart.
It's convenient when we both crave the same dish, and this time it was none other than a beef roast with potatoes. Damn, it brings back memories of my mom's Sunday roast with mashed potatoes.
I think I'm beginning to like roasts more than steaks. I'll check back in next year.
To make our version, we bought the beef that looked the best at Whole Foods on the morning of the dinner. A nice two-pound sirloin tip roast won out, along with colorful carrots and broccolini.
For potatoes, we chose potatoes dauphinoise, which I've made in the past. I also pre-made a gravy that was later finished in the roast pan.
The gravy, which is made with beef broth (no stock was available), is started by first cooking shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, parsley, rosemary, and a couple bay leaves.
Store-bought stock or broth on its own doesn't compare to homemade, but we can help it by cooking down fresh herbs and veggies with it. Make-ahead gravy, even without using pan drippings, can be extremely good, you just need to be patient and let things cook for a while. What's a "while?" It's 45 minutes, minimum - better at 90+ minutes if you have the time.
Do you have a mandoline? It's so convenient when making potato chips, gratins, ratatouille, and similar dishes. The reason being that all vegetable slices are equal in thickness and therefore cook evenly.
It's not something you'll likely use on a weekly basis, but it's a necessity when you need it. Mine is a Benriner which you'll see randomly on cooking shows and it only took $25 out of my wallet.
For potatoes dauphinoise, you want to use thin-skinned, waxy potatoes because they hold up to baking without breaking down. I slice them very thin using a mandoline and then create overlapping layers, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and filling the center with the odd bits.
There's no need to cook the potatoes prior to baking.
When ready to bake, I pour over a mix of whole milk and cream, top with grated Gruyere, and shave some nutmeg on top.
I've always liked broccoli, but I absolutely love broccolini because of it's looser florets and thinner stems. It's great pan-fried on high heat or grilled and my typical prep includes just salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Quay prepped the carrots with EVOO, salt, pepper, and brown sugar.
Look at this roast: two pounds of nicely-marbled goodness!
Roasts are great with just plain old salt and pepper, but if you like to rub your roast, some basic spices can liven it up: cayenne, garlic and onion powder, and Hungarian paprika. Three tablespoons should do it.
Spice up your life by rubbing your roast.
One of the great things about this dish is that the potatoes and the roast cook at the same temperature (350º). The potatoes go in first because they take longer - about 50 minutes. We do a reverse-sear with the beef and use a thermometer to read its internal temperature - targeting 125º before taking out of the oven.
I use a ThermoWorks ChefAlarm probe for the temp.
That there's the finished roast resting on a cutting board for 20 minutes.
The gravy is all... gravy. After cooking beef broth with the veggies, I strained the liquid and poured it into the roast pan. I added red wine, butter, and some flour to thicken it up.
Some family members called me Davy Gravy growing up. Makes no sense.
The roast came out almost perfect and my Made In Chef's Knife made slicing a breeze. I forgot to flip it in the oven which is why the cook is a bit top-heavy. But it has great color and flavor. I started reverse-searing steaks a few years ago, and haven't looked back. This is the first time I've done it with a roast, and won't do it any other way.
This shiz is “jee-oh-oh-dee” GOOD. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't eat it. Even Leela got to join in on some beefy bits. She smiled for two days!
Don't neglect your doggy or Leela will put your mug on the "NO VACANCY" list.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
- 🍷 Pinot Noir
- 🥃 Old Fashioned
🍽 Kitchen Critique
Talk about hitting the bullseye. This dish took us both back home in so many ways, and while we can't replace what our families do back home, this more than adequately fit the bill for our comfort-food craving.
The gravy was a pain-in-the-ass because I somehow over-salted it. But with some time and patience - along with water and flour - I brought it back to life. Even better, I had enough to freeze for another time.
Potatoes are the stand-out component. They're rich and creamy, but not over-the-top, and the browned Gruyere on top coupled with nutmeg really elevates them.
The veg. Oh, the veg. Roasted carrots are one of our favorites and the brown sugar adds just enough sweetness to contrast the rest of the dish. The broccolini is charred and slightly spicy, lending a bit of heat to each bite.
The sirloin tip is a great buy. Two pounds enough for us to have this meal-for-two along with sandwiches the next day. The cook could have left it more on the rare side, but neither of us complained. The rub added another dimension of flavor and each bite is delicious with the intensely-flavored gravy.
What's missing, you may ask? Horseradish sauce, dammit! I can't believe we forgot to make some! Oh well, it gives us a reason to live to cook another day. Mac n' cheese is another very appropriate side dish.
- While this dish made us severely homesick, we talked about awesome memories from past years with our families.
- A medium-rare roast is the way to go, and don't skimp on resting time.
- Take a day off from your diet and enjoy the potatoes!
- Save your healthy "vegan day" for another time.