Sometimes when it’s cold and snowy outside the comfort of a good home cooked meal is all you need to warm up. Meat and potatoes have a way of making us feel good and helping us ward off those cold winter days. For many, a roast may seem too scary to attempt, but in reality it is as simple as making a sandwich.
Large tender cuts of beef, pork and lamb make the best roasts. When purchasing a roast, look for marbling or flecks of fat within the lean meat. This marbling increases the juiciness of the meat giving it more flavors along with making these cuts tenderer. Aged beef roasts will also enhance the roast’s flavor.
When it comes to types of meats to roast, there are many to choose from. Turkeys and hams are often roasted to enhance their flavor. Beef roasts and pork roasts are favorites, but roasted prime rib and leg of lamb are mighty tasty too. Even a roasted chicken can be juicer and have more flavor than fried chicken.
Tips for Turning out the Perfect Roast
When roasting a cut of meat, be sure it is at least 2 inches thick. This will guarantee a moister and less chewy dish. Moist heat is important when roasting a large cut of meat. A large cut of meat when slow cooked should be braised to ensure a mouth watering and juicy finished product.
Browning the meat is a plus. It doesn’t matter if you are slow cooking on top of the stove, in the crock pot or in the oven, browning meat before hand over high heat will help to caramelize the proteins and sugars found on the outside of the meat. This gives your roast a richer flavor.
It is best to season a roast before browning it. By doing this prior to browning, the flavors are sealed into the meat and not left in the bottom of a roasting pan. Roasts are best cooked between 300 and 350 degrees.
If you are using vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions and celery and using a crock pot, always add the vegetables at the beginning of the cooking process. You want your vegetables to be soft and by letting them cook longer at the slow temperature, you’ll have just that.
If you are adding vegetables to a roast in the oven, add them about 1 hour before the roast has finished cooking. They will be soft instead of mushy from being overcooked or crunchy from not being cooked enough.
Liquids can also be added to roasts. Water, broths, soups, juices, wine and even soda can be added to help keep your roast juicy and flavorful. Always be sure to cover your pan with foil or a tight lid to keep the liquids from escaping and causing your roast to become too dry.
One last tip – remember a meat thermometer. Different meats cook in different time spans. A meat thermometer is the most reliable way to tell when any meat product is cooked all the way through.
Roasts make the best fix it and forget meals. Add a side of fruit and a slice of warm homemade bread and you have a meal that is both comforting and warming.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
3 pound boneless top round or rump roast
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium white potatoes, cubed
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 envelopes onion soup mix
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Over medium heat melt butter in the sunflower oil. Place the beef and onion wedges in the hot oil. Brown the beef but only brown each side. Meat will cook through in crock pot. Once meat is browned place meat and onions in the crock pot. Add carrots, potatoes and bay leaves. Add salt. Mix onion soup mix in 3 cups of boiling water until completely dissolved. Pour over top of the meat and vegetables. Cook on high about 3½ hours or until meat is fork tender. To make the gravy, place cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water in a medium saucepan. Stir until mixture becomes a paste. Add 2 cups of liquid from meat. Boil until liquid thickens into desired consistency.