Monday, January 05, 2009

Beef, potato horseradish cake, endives!

I always feel a little jumpy blogging about meat dishes, as though spirits of the beef will rise in my dreams and haunt me through my vegetarian friends (and I have a lot of those.) But I haven't blogged in forever, and Josh made a really assuaging dinner so this just needs to happen. You need to hear about this over and again fabulous book, the marinade that you can use twice, and the absolutely brainy potato and horseradish cake. Josh swears the secret is in the rosemary we have bunched and hanging daintily on our kitchen wall, pounded with three cloves of garlic in a positively heavy and murderous cast iron mortar and pestle. I'm always a fan of a good recipe that incorporates red wine. This inevitably means that you buy one bottle for cooking with and one bottle to drink as your cooking and eating. Perhaps by the end of the meal you are a bit more smashed than you otherwise would be because you had two bottles of wine open; a true recipe for unabashed sleep and cozy moments around an otherwise imperfect day. This recipe comes yet again from a library borrowed cookbook, Jamie Oliver's: Jamie's Kitchen. The recipe is somewhat adapted and abbreviated.

I have no idea how big our roast was, but I do know that it was a rib roast not too hefty or huge. This should be generously seasoned and patted and prodded with salt & pepper (this would be the husband's part, if not the whole meal, in my meager opinion.) Then with that mortar and pestle, don't be shy, pound and press the rosemary and garlic together (1-3 cloves). Loosen this with some olive oil, more than you might think (up to 5TB) and rub into the beef (call for the husband or male counterpoint again.)

Preheat oven to 450. Parboil (which means blanche) six or so medium waxy potatoes in boiling and salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain, transfer to bowl and coat with olive oil. Season well. Using a non-stick and greased cake pan or a nonstick metal frying pan, layer half the potatoes and then smother with 3TB (more or less depending on your tastebuds) of creamed horseradish. Then finish layering with other half of potatoes. Put aside for now.

Brown the beef on all sides in a snug-fitting roasting pan. Add garlic to pan and place beef on top. Place in oven with the pan of potatoes below. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn beef over, baste, and add 1/2 bottle of red wine and 1/4 cup butter. Remove the potato dish, place a clean towel carefully over the potatoes and apply pressure to compact potatoes into a tight cake. Replace in oven and cook for 15-20 more minutes.

After this time, remove and test roast. Cook to your desired temp, then allow roast to rest. Brown potatoes in oven about 5 more minutes if needed. Serve juice as an au jus, or cook to a gravy. We chose the au jus, and had plenty left to use for another dinner tonight.

In addition to this we had wild rice, a simple roasted squash, and endives we dipped into an equally simple and homemade vinagrette adapted from Nigella Lawson's Feast, Food to Celebrate Life:
Use 1 tsp grainy mustard, 1 TB tahini, 3 TB extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp sherry vinegar, few drops of honey, salt & pepper. Whir all these together and toss with the endives or just dip like we did, the wild and civilized pair we are. It was refreshingly raw and crunchy and bitter. Yum.

These little endives look like soldiers preparing for the feast here.

A note on the separated role of male as rubber, believe me, I am a fairly independent woman. All friends who knew me prior to Josh would probably say this was my most endearing and irritating quality. But I know my limitations, and rubbing, seducing, or pulverizing meat is one of them. Forgive me, ladies, for assuming you partake in a similar process of thought.

And just to mention tonight's experiment, I roasted the other half of the roast we had bought, salt, pepper, thyme, savory, and oregano sprinkled and tossed on (Josh was in class and unavailable to assist in the rub down). This roast was cut in half length wise, and then half a large onion situated in between the two halves. Two pears were chopped, cores removed, and tossed in, and the remaining au jus of dinner past poured on the whole concoction. Another simple roasted squash and some short grain brown rice on the side made for a very balanced dinner. I was terrified when Josh came home and thought the pears to be potatoes. I realized that he was about to be shocked, and I felt terrible that he would be disappointed with finding that his chewing would result in fruit, not potato. Potatoes are, afterall, really all he needs in life. And these were pears. He was anything but disappointed. He loved them. They were beautifully tainted purple, as were the onions, from roasting in the red wine au jus.

I guess the idea of this second dinner could easily be transposed to tofu, pork, chicken, or potato cakes. But one reason the au jus was so good the second time around is that there were meaty juices that resulted from the original roasting. Pretty hard to make vegetarian. And not an ounce of disappointment to report.

1 comment:

sarahross said...

Are you kidding me?! You are an artist and I wish I lived close enough to smell the stuff simmering in your kitchen. PS I posted a response to your marathon comment on my blog...