Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rare Who Roast Beast

"Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast. And they'd feast! And they'd feast! And they'd FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast beast!" How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss
MourningMy mom was a teller of tales. You could never get a straight answer out of her. When I was a kid she used to claim she was 99-years old. What did I know? Even her sister would back her up; they were as thick as thieves. But imagine her shock when I called her to the window one day so that all my neighborhood pals could see for themselves what 99 looked like. I kept pointing to her exclaiming, "See! See!" I thought she was gonna shout the house down. It didn't curb the absurdity though. It was always roast beast for dinner in our house after that very first airing of the "Grinch". I can't bring myself to call it anything else now, and whenever it's served I remember with an ache and a smile all the laughter and fun with which she filled our home. She left us two years ago this week, and in remembrance, roast beast is on the menu tonight.
Seasoned roast
Roast beast racked for baking
Rare roast beast
Roast beast with Spiced rice with crispy potato crust
Roast Beast
Season the roast with salt and pepper the day before and keep chilled in the refrigerator. Bring the beast to room temperature 1-2 hours before roasting. Cook at 400°, 15 minutes per pound. Check the internal temperature in several places, using the lowest reading. Remove the the beef from the oven when it's still a little rarer than what you are aiming for. The temperature will continue to rise 5-10 degrees as the meat rests. Let the roast rest for at least 20 minutes. Resting allows the internal temperature to even out and the juices to re-distribute through the meat. Tent the meat loosely to keep warm while resting. Always slice against the grain.
I revised a recipe I found in a great book I picked up in the Botanical Garden book shop: "The New Whole Grains Cookbook" by Robin Asbell.
Persian spiced rice with crispy potato crust
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup new potatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
Rinse rice before cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the washed rice and cook for 25 minutes, and drain. In a mixing bowl, beat an egg into sour cream and mix in the spices. I replaced the cumin with garlic powder and a little dried thyme and oregano. Toss the rice with the sour cream mixture.

Drizzle olive oil into a glass baking dish and tilt the dish to spread the oil over the bottom and up the sides. Layer potatoes and onions in the oil and partially up the sides. Put the dish in a 400° oven for 5 minutes, then spread the rice mixture over the potatoes, pressing it into the bottom of the dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Once a brown crust forms on the sides and bottom of the baking dish, remove from the oven. Use a knife to loosen the edges of the rice from the dish. Invert on a serving platter. The crusty layer will now be on top. Serve warm while the crust remains crispy.
Hardly anyone serves roast beast anymore, but I'm on a one-man crusade to put it back into heavy rotation. It's easy, versatile, and delicious. After reading this, serve it for dinner one night this week. Maybe it will tenderly remind you of your own mother or another loved one missing at the table.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food


Jeff (UK) said...

Now that's a roast beast, perfectly bloody and beautiful, I can taste it from here (here being Singapore mind). Last night ate at the East Coast, at one of the outdoor cafes along the sea that locals frequent late in the evening when the heat of the day has passed. We had amazing chile curry crayfish in a spicy sauce that was akin to mole, chile crab with bean shoots, fried rice and these amazing fried buns. Mostly eaten by hand of course, with coconut milk, beer, and a few minor concoctions that seemed to have alcohol, if I remember correctly. Today's another culinary excursion with my local loving hosts. Here's to mother's everywhere, and a toast to yours.

Matt said...

My lips they cannot contain the drool... my heart grew three sizes upon seeing this!