The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And no, I’m not talking about the song or saying this because it’s the holidays. I realize it might make me a bit grinchy, but I don’t like Christmas music. The one and only time I will permit Christmas music to be played in the house is during the decorating of the Christmas tree. I got my three hours of Christmas music in two weeks ago. And the Christmas tree looks beautiful. And yes, it’s real, so I won’t have any more people calling me bah-humbug.

For me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year because it’s roast season. It’s cold outside and cozy inside when you’ve got beef slowly cooking in the oven. I once told Jan that my favorite meal growing up was the beef stew my mom made with carrots and potatoes. That the beef fell apart with a fork and it was amazing. And I didn’t have to describe any more before he got to planning his own roast beef dishes.

Since then, he’s made Julia Child’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon, which I like to call “Beef Boring-Jan” (only works when you pronounce his name correctly like yawn), and I request this meal anytime I know we have a bit more time to cook dinner (it’s amazing and worth the time). He’s made slow-roasted beef spare ribs that fall off the bone. And last week, he made the classic roast that we got to enjoy for days.

For this meal, perfect for warming even the biggest Christmas Grinch, Jan bought three pounds of New York Strip Loin Roast. Keeping the fat on the meat, he seasoned the entire roast with salt, ground peppercorns, onion powder, and garlic, and put it in pan over chopped carrots, onion, and a whole head of garlic. This was cooked in a 300°F oven, fat side up for approximately three hours until the internal temperature of the meat reached 135°F inside.

During the last hour of cooking, we added 1 cup of beef broth to the pan, to be used for making gravy for the mashed potatoes that would be served alongside the roast.

Once the meat reached the desired temperature, we took the roast out of the oven and let it rest for half an hour before serving. We had a delicious dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy (made from adding the broth to a little bit of butter and flour), and the onions and carrots. I got everything mashed together on my plate just how I liked it.

Then, only to improve upon the meal, a few days later we had French dip sandwiches made from the roast beef. When the meat was chilled, we cut thin slices, then cooked them in beef broth to serve with a toasty hoagie roll and a side of au jus. And again, a few nights later, when I was having dinner for one, I sautéed onions and tomatoes with a small amount of olive oil. I added about ¼ cup of beef broth to the onions and tomatoes, then toward the end of cooking, added the thinly sliced roast beef. I served this over a roll toasted with shredded Italian cheese.

Finally, there was just enough roast beef left over for me to stop making sandwiches, and instead feed the rest to Benny as dog treats. And everyone in the house was happy. What can I say? I can’t get into that running-around-like-crazy-because-it’s-the-holidays spirit. Call me cynical for shying away from what I see as all the overly commercialized aspects of Christmas. But the rest of the stuff that goes along with the holidays? I’ll take the family and the food any day. And roast beef.

2 thoughts on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  1. I have always wanted to make Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon. Legend tells that it takes an entire bottle of red wine. I got the Makings of a French Chef, by none other than Julia herself. I will have to bring it over sometime and we can try to out French each other.

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