Today’s post was already written, just waiting in the wings for the witching hour (5 am) to post when we sat down to dinner last night. Dinner was so doggone good, I could not wait to share it.
I had never cooked an Eye of Round Roast before. The smarty pants that I am didn’t think there was anything to cooking an Eye of Round Roast. A roast is a roast is a roast, right? I had a favorite recipe for roast beef with lots of garlic already picked out. That was my plan . . .
Then I came across a recipe for President Ford’s Braised Eye of Round Steak (steaks cut from the Eye of Round). First the steaks are seared over very high heat very quickly, then slow cooked in the skillet with a combination of equal parts Beef Consommé and Burgundy wine for about an hour. Really? Sounds delicious, but why such a long cooking time? Was there something about an Eye of Round cut of meat that I wasn’t aware of that it required such a long, moist cooking time? I could see an hour for my little roast, but steaks? One-inch thick steaks cooking for an hour? Hum, this required more investigation.
Turns out that the Eye of Round is a cheaper cut of roast for very good reason – it has the reputation for being a tough cut of meat. The rounds (top round, eye of round and bottom round) come from the hind-quarter of the beef. This is a section of meat that stays fairly lean due to the fact that it gets a lot of work. No fat, no marbling, no tolerance to dry cooking such as roasting in a moderate oven or cooking on a grill.
In short, the eye of round is the eye muscle of the bottom round of the beef round primal cut. The eye of round roast is boneless and can be a bit tough, so it is best to cook it with a moist heat process. In laymen’s terms – it is a lean muscle. While it is similar in appearance to the tenderloin (where we get Filet Mignon), because it is cut from a well-exercised muscle, the eye of round is lean and tough. So why bother? I mean, who wants to eat shoe leather? While the eye of round gets a bad rap as a tough cut of meat, it is also a flavorful cut of meat. Searing and moist cooking were key. I rifled through my various roast beef recipes and came up with one of my own, combining ingredients from several recipes. The results were outstanding.
Tender Eye of Round Garlic Roast
2 1/2 lb Eye of Round Roast
4 Garlic Cloves
Hickory Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
1/4 Cup Red Wine
1/8 Cup Beef Stock
2 Sheets of Foil
Remove roast from refrigerator about 2 hours before cooking and let it rest on the counter to warm.
While the roast is coming to room temperature, peel garlic and cut into long slivers.
With a sharp paring knife, cut slits (one at a time) into the roast and insert a sliver of garlic into the slit. Repeat randomly until the roast has garlic every inch or so.
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, rubbing seasoning into the meat.
Cut two sheets of foil large enough to completely wrap roast into. Stack foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Place roast in the middle of the foil. Bring up the sides and ends to create a wide “bowl” to keep liquids from running out.
While the oven is preheating to 500 degrees (or as close as you can get without turning on the broiler), pour red wine and beef stock over the roast. After about fifteen minutes or so, turn roast over so that both sides have had a chance to soak in the stock-wine mixture and continue to let roast sit on the counter for the remaining time.
Once the oven has reached temperature, place the roast (still exposed) into the oven and let bake for about 16 minutes.
Remove from oven, close door to retain heat and turn oven down to 170 degrees.
Wrap roast tightly in foil to seal in all the juices, and then return to oven to let it slow-roast for about an hour.
Remove from oven, open one end of the pouch and pour drippings into a 2-cup measuring cup to use for the gravy. Reseal roast in the foil, and let rest for about 20 minutes for the juices to settle. While the roast rests, make the pan-stock gravy. (Recipe to follow).
When ready to serve, transfer the roast to a platter, slice as thinly as possible across the grain. Serve with gravy and your favorite sides.
Beef Broth Pan Dripping Brown Gravy
1/2 Cup Pan Drippings from Roast
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
¼ cup cold water + 2 tablespoons corn starch
salt and pepper to taste
Empty pan drippings from roast into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough beef stock/broth to equal 2 cups.
In a medium sauce pan bring beef liquid to boil over medium-high heat.
Whisk in garlic powder, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce.
In cup (same one used for the liquid) whisk together cold water and corn starch until dissolved. Pour into boiling beef broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir until thickened. DO NOT rush the thickening process with higher heat. Time is necessary to cook off any lingering “corn starch” taste.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
This gravy is great over roast beef and mashed potatoes alike.
Hope you give this a try soon – I promise, you will be pleasantly surprised.