Everyday Food (September 2009)
We're not exactly sure why, but we don't make a lot of beef roasts.
Lord knows we love roasting a pork tenderloin (Exhibit A, B, C and D). And it's the exact same process: Sear all sides in a stovetop skillet, then finish in the oven. For some reason, though, roast beef just never seems to occur to us.
Well, that's going to change. With this solid, basic roast beef recipe -- and these lovely roasted vegetables -- we've got a new go-to recipe that's extremely delicious, but so easy it's almost mindless. That's a combination we can get behind!
As we said, this roast beef recipe is extremely simple. It's barely even seasoned, save for a sprinkling of thyme. But that's not a criticism! If you're looking for a good, basic roast beef, you can't beat this one. Flavorful, moist and nicely rare, this roast beef really hit the spot for us.
The sides are pretty basic, too, except for one thing. Celery root adds a delicious new dimension to standard roasted potatoes. We were actually surprised at what a difference it makes. The roasted celery root brought a deliciously sweet earthiness to the potatoes.
The simplicity of this meal continues with the salad. Again, it's nothing dramatic (we made ours with spicy greens from our CSA instead of watercress). But it's a very tasty, very standard salad that complements the roast beef and vegetables.
So we have two bottom lines: 1) We're going to roast celery root with our potatoes; and 2) We're going to be making roast beef much more frequently!
• 2 1/2 pounds top round roast
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 2 medium bulbs celery root (2 pounds total), peeled
• 3/4 pound red new potatoes, halved if large
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
• 1 large bunch watercress (10 ounces), trimmed
1. Remove roast from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using kitchen twine, tie beef at 1 1/2-inch intervals; pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on high. Brown roast all over, 9 minutes. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with thyme. Reserve half of one celery root for roast beef sandwiches; cut remainder into 1 1/2-inch chunks. In a bowl, toss celery root and potatoes with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper; add to sheet. Roast until beef is medium-rare, about 40 minutes (an instant-read thermometer inserted in center should register 125 degrees). Transfer beef to a cutting board; tent with foil. Let rest 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons oil; season dressing with salt and pepper. Save a handful of watercress for sandwiches; toss remainder with dressing. Reserve one-third the beef for sandwiches; slice remainder. Serve beef and vegetables with salad.