Saturday, March 29, 2008

March 29: Italian Roast Beef

I've said before that I'm not that impressed by Cook's Country, the aw-shucks home-cookin' country-bumpkin cousin of Cook's Illustrated. I'm still not. My mother gave me a subscription a couple years ago, and the only recipe I made was the one for firecracker chicken. That, I have to admit, was delicious and simple to make, and would have changed my mind about the cookbook if it weren't for all the reader-generated content, the folksy stories submitted about newlyweds making cookies with old motor oil and seeking updated versions of their great-grandmother's kutchen.

So when this recipe popped into my inb0x this weekend, I was skeptical, but Italian roast beef happens to be something I really love, when it's done right. Spicy marinated roast beef, sliced thin and piled on crusty bread, a little herby vinegar and oil dressing, thinly sliced provolone. Skeptical, but I've never had really good Italian beef outside of Chicago. I am looking forward to trying this recipe, as soon as I get a chance to get to Eastern Market or somewhere similar, where I can find a really good top sirloin roast, as suggested. It's meaty and tender and lean.

Italian Roast Beef

4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons dried basil
4 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon pepper
1 4-pound top sirloin roast , fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion , chopped fine
3 garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons salt

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine garlic powder, basil, oregano, and pepper in small bowl.

2. Pat roast dry with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast all over, about 10 minutes, then transfer to V-rack set inside roasting pan.

3. Add onion to fat in skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, flour, and 1 teaspoon spice mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broths and water, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits. Bring to boil, then pour into roasting pan.

4. Stir remaining oil, pepper flakes, and salt into remaining spice mixture. Rub mixture all over meat and roast until meat registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 75 to 90 minutes. Transfer roast to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 20 minutes.

5. Pour jus through fine-mesh strainer and keep warm. Slice roast crosswise against grain into ¼-inch-thick slices. Serve with jus.

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