Sunday, April 24, 2005
Sunday Dinner: Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
We found a sirloin roast at the bottom of our freezer this morning--not quite freezer-burned but another month or so and it would have been stew meat for our dog. It has been thawing all day on the countertop while I continued to put away kitchen drawer contents (see my blog of April 23). Now it is sizzling in the oven and I need to get back down to that kitchen and put in the Yorkshire pudding.
I like to roast beef and lamb--even turkey--slowly. I first sear the meat at 450 degrees farenheit for about 15 minutes, then drop the oven temperature to 250 degrees until it's done (use an oven thermometer--the digital ones are amazing--and to assure accuracy for desired "doneness"). This can take anywhere from an hour and fifteen minutes to three hours, depending on its size. Before roasting, I like to bring the meat to room temperature if possible and then season it liberally with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and sometimes garlic.
Meanwhile, I halve red potatoes (or peel and par boil Idahos) and toss them lightly in some olive oil, sprinkling them with sea salt. They roast in another oven (we have a pair of wall ovens, which helps when juggling) at around 450 Farenheit during the last 45 minutes or so of cooking the roast. Two boxes of chopped frozen spinach go into a saucepan with a bit of water and two chicken boullion cubes. I simmer it gradually and crank it up towards the end of cooking time. Then I add a huge pat of butter and about 1/4 cup of cream or half-and-half. Voila--quick Creamed Spinach.
And then the Yorkshire pudding--this is derived from my Uncle John's famous popover recipe [at least according to THE GENERAL'S COOKBOOK (Akron General Hospital Cookbook, c. 1960) and certainly amongst the family]. I triple this recipe for Yorkshire pudding but it also makes the biggest popovers you've ever seen. Uncle John was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts and I suspect he brought this family recipe with him to Akron when he married my aunt. I know it was a tradition in their family to serve them every Christmas morning with plenty of butter and jelly.
UNCLE JOHN's POPOVERs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
4 dashes of salt
REMEMBER to triple ingredients for Yorkshire Pudding. Beat eggs well; add salt in quick dashes. Add milk and beat. Add flour quickly and beat to get lumps out; beat again for several minutes. Let rest in bowl until oven ready. (An eggbeater works fine or you can use an electric mixer, but don't over beat!)
Heat oven to 475 degrees farenheit. Grease (Crisco works best and use it lavishly) a large Pyrex 13x9 dish (or 18-20 custard cups). Place in oven for 5-7 minutes until really hot. Take out and add batter, working quickly. Place back in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes at 475 degrees. Then, with popovers still in oven (do not open!), reduce heat to 350 degrees for an additional 13-15 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve with butter and currant jelly, or your own favorite. You can also put gravy on them, if desired.
And that is Sunday dinner: start time, 4:30pm; served with a smile at 6:45pm. While cooking I puttered around the kitchen clipping recipes, setting the table, and yelling at my husband.
Well at least the food was good.
Now I am eager to crawl into bed with our two boys and read the pile of books they have selected--then it is time for DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (mmmm?) and the return of BOSTON LEGAL (with Rupert Everett, no less). Perhaps a glass of wine will perfect the evening.
Cheers! May all of your Sundays be pleasant ones.