When you’re making a meal, buy the right parts and remember all of it. I learned this one New Year’s Eve. I cooked dinner for three friends.
I’d decided to make roast beef with potatoes and carrots roasted with it, gravy and green beans. I bought an eye of round roast. It looked beautiful in the butcher shop. It had no fat, a plus for me since I dislike meat with fat.
In my opinion, a roast is the easiest thing in the world to cook. Put it in a roasting pan, brown it maybe, pour red wine over it, cover it until the juices start flowing. Leave it there for a few hours and it’s done. Magic. Well, don’t do that with a round roast unless you add fat to it. And don’t put the vegetables in with it. You need fat in the meat to make the juice, and you need lots of meat juices to cook vegetables with the roast and have anything left over for gravy.
Roast beef with no pan juices – uh oh!
Well into the cooking time, I realized I had a problem. A roast roasting away, with no pan juices. So no lovely browning vegetables. Just carrots and potatoes slowly drying out alongside the roast. I added wine liberally, poured some oil over it, took the vegetables out to cook separately, kept the lid on the pan. That generated enough juices to make a sort of gravy sauce, with the addition of sour cream and flour to the vegetable stock.
In the panic of dealing with the roast that was not cooking itself the way I’d expected, I forgot there was another pot sitting on the counter beside the stove. I’d topped and tailed the green beans earlier, put a bit of water with them and put them aside, with the lid on, ready to steam.
While eating the passable roast beef with a sour cream and red wine sauce, sautéed carrots and mashed potatoes, I kept thinking there should be something else. The others complimented me on the food. But something’s missing, I thought. There shouldn’t just be carrots. Then I noticed the small covered pot sitting in the kitchen. The green beans. It was too late in the meal to introduce them then. So we laughed about it, drank more wine, and said “green beans sure would be good with this!”
The next day, I cut up the leftover roast beef, stewed it for a couple hours with the leftover carrots, added the rest of the gravy sauce. Served on rice, with green beans, it was a fabulous meal. Too bad our guests weren’t there for it!
Here’s a recipe for top round roast, as pictured above