Hubby checked the Menu for the week that I keep posted on the refrigerator door. Posting the menu for the week avoids that question “what’s for dinner?” My guys can read it and decided if they are pouring a glass of milk, soda or iced tea to have with dinner. That evening’s menu read Rump Round Pesto Roast, Lemon Herb New Potatoes and Glazed Tarragon Carrots. Hum, sounded like a milk meal to him.
When I first saw this recipe for a slow-cooker Roast Beef Sandwich that was supposed to be “just like Arby’s” I was very skeptical. After all, the real key to Arby’s is that the meat is cut super thin. Unless you have an awesome meat slicing machine in your kitchen, chances are you aren’t going to get the millimeter thin ribbons of beef. That much I was certain, and in the end that much was true. We didn’t have Arby’s style roast beef sandwiches for dinner, but we did have an awesome chopped beef sandwich that rocked our worlds. While this isn’t exactly one of those throw it in the crock pot and forget about it suppers, a little tending isn’t much for a hot sandwich that is this delicious. You know me, once I realized we weren’t going to get that same thin sliced Arby’s sandwich from my slow cooker, I tweaked the final sauce just a bit and bam – it was awesome!
On a recent Costco run, Hubby and I picked up an Eye of Round roast. It was a large roast, about 5 pounds. That was much too large for just the three of us, so we cut the roast in half, wrapped each half in plastic wrap, then sealed in bags for the freezer. I had never worked with Eye of Round cuts of meat before. Except for a thin ribbon of fat along one side, the rest of the roast was very lean – no marbling or lines of gristle. Top Round, Bottom Round and Eye of Round all come from the same section of beef – the hind quarter. The reason the meat is lean is because it gets a good work out. The reason the round section gets a rap for being tough is because it is a lean muscle. What no one seems to talk about is the flavor. The beef flavor is intense. And when cooked correctly, it makes for some kind of wonderful dining experience. The first time I cooked up this meat was to serve as my Tender Eye of Round Garlic Roast. That was a hit. Tender and packed with flavor.
Last night, it was time to try the Eye of Round as steaks. The recipe floating about the internet for Eye of Round Steak has an odd name – President Ford’s Braised Eye of Round Steak. Try as I might to see just when it may have been a part of the White House dinner menu, I came up empty. The only reference is that Gerald Ford had a fondness for Eye of Round, particularly as a braised steak. While there is no definitive proof that a braised Eye of Round steak was offered up at any state dinner or White House function, it would be a safe bet to say that this delicious steak graced the table in the private residence. After all, if you are the President of the United States, it stands to reason that you would eat the things you like when not hosting a gala event. Long after President Ford had left office, Hubby and I had the honor of meeting him at an awards dinner. (And no – braised steak was not on the menu). He was both kind and gracious. As you can imagine, a recipe with his name holds some sentimental value to me.
By braising the steaks, it will produce a tender piece of meat. The beef flavor is deep and satisfying. However; because the meat is extremely lean, it can also be on the drier side, so serving it with the pan sauce is an absolute must. That’s alright, since the pan sauce is marvelous.
One last thing before we get to cooking. As Hubby, Kiddo and I sat down to dinner last night, I said “Just think, we’re dining on something that was served at the White House during the Ford Administration.” To which my loving Hubby replied “Wow, it’s really well-preserved.” Think about it for a moment. The man makes me crazy, but he always makes me laugh.
Just a few notes: I used fresh rather than dried Thyme in my rendition. I also added a few sprigs of fresh Thyme to the braising liquid. The aroma was wonderful. I only used one onion rather than the two that the original recipe called for. My onion was very large, so one was enough to smother the steaks in onions. If yours are medium or if you want more onions, by all means use two. Finally, the recipes floating about the internet call for a cup of Beef Consomme. I went ahead and used the entire can (15 oz), as this made for a richer sauce.
President Ford’s Braised Eye of Round Steak
2 lb beef eye of round, cut into 6 steaks
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
15 oz beef consomme (1 can, undiluted)
1 cup Burgundy wine
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
Cut Eye of Round into steaks. Season with salt and pepper, set aside. Let steaks rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
Slice onion into rings and separate. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook and stir until lightly browned and tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate until ready to return to the pan.
Season the steaks with thyme, pressing into the meat. Dust steaks with flour, then sprinkle with seasoned salt.
Swirl 1 tablespoon olive oil into the skillet for a light coating. Fry the steaks in the skillet over medium-high heat until browned on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Pour the red wine and beef consomme in with the beef. Return the cooked onions to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the aroma of wine dissipates and the liquid is bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add sprigs of fresh Thyme to the pan, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Transfer steaks to a serving platter, top and surround with all of the onions. With a spoon, drizzle the steaks with some of the sauce.
Pour remaining sauce into a gravy boat or bowl with a ladle and serve alongside steaks. Pass the sauce at the table for diners to add as desired. This beefy wine-rich sauce goes well with buttery mashed potatoes.
Have a great weekend everyone!
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 Consomme 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.