Monday, January 24, 2011

Foolproof Roast Beef

Most cooks are familiar with the Joy of Cooking cookbook, but I wasn't until a few years ago. I had seen the title at the library, in bookstores, and in other people's kitchens, but I had never looked inside. I knew it was very popular and that cooks have been using it to cook for decades. When I joined a cookbook club about a year ago I decided to give it the Joy of Cooking a try, and I'm really glad I did. It is my new favorite because it has just about any answer to any question you might have about how to cook a particular kind of food and how a certain food is used in cooking. This edition was published in celebration of its 75th Anniversary when a widow by the name of Irma Rombauer self-published the cookbook, using her own savings to do it. Her daughter joined in and helped her with illustrations and recipe testing. Irma's grandson now heads up the publishing of JOC. I love it when families work hard to share in a project like this. It would take me a lifetime to try all the recipes in this book (not that I'm going to try!) but I know if I have doubts about how to cook a particular food, I can usually find the answer in this one.

My most successful result of a recipe is for Roast Beef. It comes out perfectly every single time. A meat thermometer is essential for this recipe, so I recommend you get one before even trying it. The other important thing is to set your oven on the high temperature it calls for. My oven only goes up to 500 degrees but it's enough. It really does make a difference. I have used a sirloin tip roast and an eye of round roast for this recipe.

Roast Beef

These directions are for the large, tender cuts we think of as Sunday dinner roast beef. Count on 2 servings per pound for bone-in roasts, 3 servings per pound for boneless roasts. The most tender are the standing rib roast and the rolled rib roast. The sirloin tip roast, eye of round, or rolled rump may be cooked the same way.

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees. Having removed the roast from the refrigerator 2 hours before, place the meat fat side up on a rack in a greased shallow roasting pan. Do not cover, and don't add liquid. Put the roast in the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast 18 to 20 minutes to the pound for medium-rare. A rolled roast will require 5 to 10 minutes longer to the pound. A thermometer should read between 125 degrees and 130 degrees for rare and 135 degrees and 140 degrees for medium. Let rest. Carve.

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