At the start of every new year, I feel a need to simplify. Maybe it's a reaction to the excesses of the holidays. Or maybe it's just a practical way to begin another year. Less extraneous things and activities and distractions. Pared down.
So in keeping with my theme, this spoon roast* is prepared quite simply. Roasted dry in the oven for hours, it comes out pink and meltingly tender. I chose to rub it with olive oil and various seasonings. You could choose an even simpler kosher salt rub or salt, pepper, and oil. Whatever you'd like. Just season the roast the day before. Wrap it in cellophane and refrigerate.
I really was unsure about this. I'd never cooked a roast in the oven without any liquid. Maybe it would turn out to be a dried-up hunk o' meat.
Vegetarian friends, look away.
The meat was unbelievably tender and an even shade of dark pink all the way through. I was a bit nervous about feeding my littles such rare beef so I pan-seared their slices in a cast iron skillet with a bit of olive oil. Their more well-done slices were just as tender. A carnivore's delight.
A simple spoon roast
Gathered from many sources with special nods to chowhound.com and Mark Bittman
Spoon roast (mine was a bit under 4 lbs)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper roast to taste. Mix olive oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf together. Slather generously over the entire roast. Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Place roast on rack in dutch oven or roasting pan. Layer onion slices over the top of the roast. Cook in oven for 5-6 minutes per pound. Turn down oven to 150ºF. Cook for 6 to 8 hours.
Now, I don't have a separate oven thermometer so I'm not sure how Agatha's oven behaves at 150ºF. However, after 6+ hours, the meat was only at 140º. Too low for us. So I cranked up the oven to 300ºF for another 20 minutes. Next time I do this recipe, I'll probably up the low roasting temperature to 175ºF.
The leftovers will make perfect sandwiches with a dollop of horseradish. Yum!
* "What is a spoon roast?" you may ask. My first answer is a cut of meat that was on sale at Whole Foods. After some research, my second, more informative answer is that a spoon roast is a marketing term for top sirloin (or top butt, top sirloin butt, or center-cut roast). Do the grocers interchange all of these names just to be confusing? I need a cow anatomy/terminology diagram, mapped out like a sixth-grade European geography lesson.