mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

[ profile] obsessivewoman suggested we try a beef tenderloin this year, so I reserved a couple of 7 pound roasts at Safeway and picked them up on the 23rd. We spent a while on the America’s Test Kitchen web site reviewing different recipes (which vary wildly) and eventually distilled it down to this:

The night before the party:

  1. Remove the silverskin, but not the chain; recipes also suggest that one can simply segment the silverskin to avoid it shortening during cooking and curling the meat, much like cooking calamari.
  2. Tie the roast with twine every 1½–2 inches, folding the tails over to achieve uniform thickness and trying for as cylindrical a profile as possible.
  3. Set it on foil and cover it in kosher salt (about 1½ tbsp).
  4. Close the foil and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

On the day of the party:

  1. Two hours before cooking, remove a stick of unsalted butter from the refrigerator to soften.
  2. 20 minutes before cooking, heat oven to 300°F.
  3. Remove roast from refrigerator and blot dry with paper towels, removing any remaining salt.
  4. Rub butter all over the roast (¼ stick should be enough) and then cover in low-salt Montreal steak seasoning. (Every recipe we saw for tenderloin managed to cover it in either butter or olive oil.)
  5. Place the roast diagonally on a baking rack on a cookie sheet; it’s too long to fit in a prime rib roasting rack.
  6. Insert meat thermometer and begin roasting.
  7. At 105°F, remove the roast, flip it over, and replace it in the oven.
  8. At 120°F, pour olive oil in a saucepan and begin heating on medium high.
  9. At 125°F, remove the roast from the oven and immediately bisect it. Sear each half in the olive oil, 1 minute on each side.
  10. Let the halves stand, tented in foil, for ¼ hour.
  11. When carving, remove the chain first and slice that onto a separate platter in 1–1½” segments. It requires more attention when eating to get around the gristle, but it’s very flavorful.
  12. Now that the chain is removed, slice the rest of the roast in ¼–½” medallions.

Tenderloin cooks fast compared to a prime rib; it’s ready to serve in a couple of hours. The result is very flavorful, and tender enough to cut easily with a butter knife.

Future avenues of investigation:

  • A guest mentioned that there are waste-not-want-not recipes for silverskin. See if I can track one down.
  • One recipe I saw used a rub of 4½ tsp of kosher salt, 1½ tsp of sugar, and ¼ tsp of baking soda to make the surface tacky (in that case to make an olive oil-peppercorn mixture stick to it); that might also get more butter to stick to the roast.

mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

Here’s the technique I used in tonight’s dinner:

Culinary lab notes )
mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

My latest experiment is to see if I can use a single oven to have a roast and baked potatoes come out with convenient timing for everyone to dine without any reheating, and to produce a good gravy from the drippings. Here is the procedure I used, annotated with the details:

  1. Begin with top round roast; this one was 5.90 lb. (An entire top round can run 10–18 pounds.)
  2. Coat roast in seasoning mix [8:3:1 Montreal Steak Seasoning : coarse ground black pepper : garlic powder] the night before cooking, wrap in foil, let it sit in the refrigerator. (The goal with the seasoning is to cut down on the sodium that drips into the gravy; otherwise I would have just used straight Montreal Steak Seasoning.)
  3. Bring out roast in the morning and let it warm gradually on the counter.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a deep roasting pan with sliced mushrooms and quartered onions. Pour in low-sodium beef broth. (The drippings should carry the seasoning in to spice it up.) I used an entire 32oz. container, enough to actually float the mushrooms, and that did not reduce so far as to become gravy by the end— there were 20oz. left after I scooped out the onions and mushrooms, and [ profile] obsessivewoman used it as a substitute for water with a gravy mix. The mushrooms were quite tasty, but the onions weren’t entirely cooked. Next time, I want to try about 16oz. of gravy, and slice the onions into discs so they are fully submerged.
  5. Sear the roast, place on rack, insert thermal probe, place in oven. Set probe alarm for 110°F.
  6. Monitor beef broth level and top off as necessary. (This proved to be unnecessary.)
  7. Prepare potatoes for baking by piercing with fork, coating with olive oil.
  8. When the probe alarm goes off, crank the oven to 500°F, insert the baked potatoes, reset the probe alarm to 130°F.
  9. Remove roast when the alarm goes off (moving thermal probe to a potato and resetting it to 210°F) and allow it to rest for half an hour in foil to retain heat. Serve appetizers, e.g. salad.
  10. Remove baked potatoes when the alarm goes off.
  • The roast was tender and flavorful, mostly medium rare with some medium around the edges.
  • The potatoes were in a pan rather than on a rack, and they sweated. A lot. They were in boiling puddles as they were cooking. My hypothesis is that the roast had already saturated the air within the oven so the water from the potatoes had no place to go. Next time, I want to put them on a roasting pan to catch the water, and see if we can turn the convection on for short periods of time to dissipate the humid air. The potatoes’ water was obviously boiling while the broth was barely simmering, probably due to proximity to the heating coils. The potatoes wound up fluffy on the inside, but steamed on the outside rather than crisp.
  • Either the broth or the potatoes (and boiling of the water from them; probably the latter) slowed the transition from 200° to 500°; the oven was only in the mid-400°s before the meat hit 130° internally. Next time, wait for the oven to hit 500° before inserting the potatoes.
  • Steam transfers a lot more heat than air; stand back when you open a hot oven with something simmering inside!
  • Temperature and timing:
mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

[ profile] obsessivewoman has been greatly enjoying the pineapple-free No Tai Mai Tai I developed, but laments having to rearrange her diet to accommodate all the sugar in it when I crank one out to help with a migraine. We’re both supertasters, so using sugar-free flavorings to try to make something taste sweet doesn’t really work, but using it to make something that matches an expectation of both sweet and tart seems within reach. I experimented with the sucralose-based Torani syrups to come up with this:

2 oz. orange
1 oz. lime
1 oz. mango
1 tbsp. lemon
1 tbsp. black cherry
½ tbsp. almond

Blend with shaved ice, garnish to whim. The beverage is theoretically negative-calorie, since your body has to burn energy to melt all that ice and bring the resulting water up 37°C.

All of these flavors are available as Splenda-based Torani syrups; if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can find them at the Cash & Carry on West San Carlos in San Jose.

mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

Our old stove (which came with the house) started having problems with its oven functions a few months ago, and no one made the replacement circuit boards necessary to repair it, so we had to upgrade. The new oven has a convection setting; time to find out how it performs.

Our test subject is a 2.42lb top round roast, which I rolled in Montreal steak seasoning last night, wrapped, and placed in the refrigerator. I had preheated the oven to 350°F a bit earlier when trying to calibrate it (I suspect this thing is going to need a pizza stone to help even out the temperature variations during non-convection baking), let it cool somewhat while prepping the roast, and I set it to 300° convection roasting. (With a thermal probe stuck in the middle to keep an eye on the internal temperature, and the roast sitting on a rack elevating it about ½” above the broiling pan to allow the convection currents room to pass through.) The target temperature is medium rare, 145°, and the temperature of a roast can apparently rise by 30° after exiting a convection oven, so my plan is to pull it out when it hits 115° internally, then give it 15 minutes to rest in foil.

Getting to 115° took just under an hour; the broiling pan caught no juices, so this is not a technology for creating gravy. 15 minutes’ rest took the temperature to 120°. (Meanwhile, sending two large potatoes through the microwave for 6 minutes cooked them through but not as fluffy as proper baking.) Cutting into it started with slices that started at medium rare and went to rare. Overall result was tasty and moist, but next time I’ll set the temperature alarm to 130°.

mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

Trader Vic’s are known for their Mai Tais, and they have an alcohol-free “No Tai Mai Tai”. Their standard recipe, though, uses pineapple juice, which would trigger a rather dangerous allergy for [ profile] obsessivewoman. I’ve been experimenting at home to come up with a good pineapple-free approximation. Here’s my latest recipe:

2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. lime Torani syrup
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. grenadine
½ tbsp. orgeat syrup

Blend with shaved ice, garnish to whim.

mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)

Since we’re having so many people over tomorrow night, I got two roasts. The 8½ lb. top round roast is going to go into the oven around noon for slow roasting; it’s currently sitting in the fridge smothered in Montreal Steak Seasoning. The 5.67 lb. boneless rib eye roast is similarly languishing in a custom rub (avoiding red pepper and paprika so Ray’s allergies aren’t triggered): ¼ cup sea salt, ¼ cup peppercorn mix, 1 tbsp. celery salt, 1 tbsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. onion powder, all sent through a repurposed coffee grinder. It will go into the convection oven around 16:30 to be ready by 18:00. This is a win-win situation for me: if I have lots of hungry guests, I have lots of happy guests; if I have leftovers, I get tasty, tasty roast beast sandwiches on my vacation.

Edit: it took about three hours for our 200°F oven to take it from 55°F internal temperature (the result of moving the roast from the refrigerator to the counter two hours earlier) to 110°F internal temperature, then another half hour at 500°F to hit 130°F internal temperature, then half an hour resting. Now we know I don’t need to start it quite so early.

mithriltabby: Bowler hat over roast chicken (Eats)
Covering an 8.7 pound ribeye roast in Montreal steak seasoning, letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and then giving it a couple of hours in the microwave/convection oven on HIGH MIX had very tasty results, medium at the edges and medium rare at the center. (The last ten minutes made a huge difference on the internal temperature.) Fed a dozen people and still had a little left for sandwiches the next day.

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