A blogger friend recently asked me how I make the Roast Beef Dinner that I mentioned in one of my posts. It’s nothing special – just a roast the way my mother always made it, carrots the way my mother-in-law fixed them, mashed potatoes and gravy, asparagus with my version of a light Hollandaise sauce, and homemade yeast rolls. For dessert, some kind of homemade pie. For what it’s worth, this is how I cooked my roast beef dinner this past Sunday.
SUNDAY ROAST BEEF DINNER FOR 6 (with some leftovers)
I like to buy a 4 lb. Regal Rump beef roast. The meat is lean, juicy and easy to slice. I pour about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of a roasting pan, place the meat on a rack and surround it with about a pound of baby carrots. I sprinkle the roast and carrots with salt and pepper, cover the pan and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 3-1/2 hours. We like our beef well done, so you can adjust the time to get your roast just the way you like it. Allow time to remove the roast from the pan, place it on a platter and cover with foil for about 15 minutes before slicing.
While the roast is in the oven there’s time to set the table with my vintage Jadeite dinnerware. Before we left our country home 10 years ago, I had a dining room, but now we gather around the kitchen table.
After the roast has been cooking about two hours, tip the roasting pan and ladle out 1/2 to 3/4 cup of broth. Place the broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. In a small cup, dissolve 2 tsp. cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Whisk this into the broth and continue whisking until gravy starts to thicken. My husband hated pale gravy, so I always add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet for color and a little flavor enhancement. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until time to reheat it for dinner. This saves some time when you are trying to get everything on the table.
Peel and quarter 6 medium red potatoes. Cover with cold water and cook over medium high heat until potatoes are done – about 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in the large bowl of an electric mixer with paddle beater. Beat until potatoes are broken up, then add 2 tablespoons butter and 2-3 tablespoons of milk, a little at a time, and beat to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
A lot of people like lumpy mashed potatoes, but I grew up with a mother who used an old-fashioned potato masher and yearned to have creamy, smooth mashed potatoes. When she was finally able to get an electric hand mixer in the 1950s, she never went back to the old-fashioned masher. My family expects mashed potatoes to be whipped smooth with no lumps.
I buy one pound of asparagus and break the spears at the spot where they break easily, discarding the lower portion. This will help avoid having stringy, tough asparagus. Break the upper portions into 1-2 inch pieces. Steam until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes.
I serve the asparagus with a lighter Hollandaise Sauce.
HOT YEAST ROLLS AND BUTTER
Because of limited oven space, I bake my rolls the night before or use some of my supply from the freezer. I put the rolls (thawed if from the freezer) on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and warm in the oven in the last 10 minutes or so before the meal is served.
Everyone liked the dinner very much.
PIE FOR DESSERT
I usually have home-baked pie with a Roast Beef Dinner. The kind of pie depends on the season and/or what I feel like baking that day. Today, I decided to make a Kentucky Lemon Chess Pie, which we try to have at least once during the winter. I made the pie early in the day before the roast went into the oven to allow ample time for the roast to bake and for the pie to cool.
There may be variations in the green vegetable or the pie, but basically this is the same dinner I’ve been fixing about once a month for almost 60 years.