For years, I watched my mother fret and worry over roast beef. It was expensive, so we only had it a few times a year, and therefore each time was fraught with emotional turmoil - or so it seemed to me at the time. It couldn't be overcooked - no gray beef in our household! - but it couldn't be purple in the center either, and of course, half the time it was overdone and half the time it was underdone.
Well, there's at least one way to cook a perfect roast every time (there may be other ways, too, but this has been 100% consistent for 30 years, so . . .) The secret? Cook it for one hour. Period. Don't care if it's a 1 lb. eye of round or a 10 lb. rolled rump. One hour. That's it.
here's what you'll need . . .
roast beef (we like the lean eye of round, but have also done tenderloin, sirloin, round and rump.
onion slices (optional)
Here's how you do it.
First, remember never to salt your raw meat, especially beef. You'll just dry it out. So season your roast with a generous portion of freshly ground Tellicherry. If you wish, use some toothpicks to secure an onion slice or three across the top of the roast, or onto either or both end faces. Or, as I’ve been doing lately, just toss two or three thick slices into the roasting pan.
Pre-heat your oven to 500 °F. Yup. 500 °F. And give it 10 minutes or so at that temperature before you put the roast in. Don't stick it in as soon as the pre-heated light goes on. But when the oven is hot, put the roast in (center rack), and let it cook at that temperature for at least 15 minutes. The length of time at 500 °F will determine which side of medium rare your roast will be when it's done. 15 minutes will give you a nice warm red center; 20 minutes will give you hot light pink center; 17 minutes yields a perfect medium rare.
After the 15-20 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 °F and let the roast cook for the remainder of the one hour total cooking time. Don't let the total time exceed one hour if you want your roast to be perfect.
At the end of the hour, remove the roast from the oven and let it stand before carving. It must sit for at least 5 minutes, but 15 is much better.
Besides, it will take you at least 15 minutes to make the gravy anyway. So let the meat rest. You can take some of the charred onion and toss it in the gravy if you like - I always do. But, if you used toothpicks, leave them in place until you're ready to carve. If you pull them out, you'll be leaving holes in the meat where flavor, heat and juices will escape.
When the gravy is ready, carve and enjoy. This was a 1.5 lb. bottom round (or actually, ½ of a 3 lb. piece), left at 500 ° F for 16 minutes, and then finished at 325 ° F. Once I found the right direction for slicing, it was delicious. And Ma KoTo, the red-eared slider who’s staying with us for a while thought so too!