Roast Beef Dinner for Two – Not Sous Vide!

Roast Beef

I had entirely different posts queued up for this week, but with food and food blogging, like many other things in life, you’ve got to roll with the punches.  The pond across the street froze today, there is snow under the bushes in-between the fallen leaves, and it has been gray.  I have spent the day starting an oil infusion (more about this later!), making a small batch of lip balm to test the recipe (more about this later, too!), and wasted 4€ on two second-hand knives that looked good but wouldn’t take an edge on a sharpener no matter what I did to them.  So I threw them away (hence ‘wasted’ rather than ‘spent’).

This sort of cold, busy and mildly frustrating Friday with T quietly whining about his headache called for an intervention of the beautiful-date-dinner type.  And so I did.

Before I get to the actual recipe, allow me to rant a bit here, because I don’t know about you, but to me it seems that lately sous-vide is everywhere – food blogs, pinterest, online mag editorials, wherever I look, it’s all about it.

And I have to say that I am heartily fed up with the smacking-of-food-hipsterism fad of trying to make sous-vide machines at home out of slow cookers or old chemistry water baths, and the general insanity of claiming that one cannot, simply cannot have that perfect pink edge-to-edge medium or medium-rare steak without the damned contraption.

I call bull%¤#t on this right here and now.  This is a post that has nothing to do with sous-vide other than the above rant, and the gorgeous, entirely sous-vide-free sirloin roast.

The above photo was taken at dinner tonight.  I don’t have a sous-vide machine, improvised or otherwise.  I also don’t bloody need one.  What I do own, however, is a cast-iron pan, a meat thermometer from IKEA (relly cheap), and an oven – things which most people can reasonably expect to find in most Western kitchens, even student ones (the cast-iron pans I own are both secondhand, and that thermometer – it’s really cheap, folks).

What’s more, the piece of meat I cooked didn’t even take an hour from start to getting this on the table (well, I took it out of the fridge a while ago to take the chill off, but that is it).

Roast Beef

What do you need to make your own?  This will feed 3 people, generously or 4 people alongside other things.  Or two with leftovers.  And it’s all very, very simple:

  • Piece of well-trimmed sirloin roast, about half a kilogram (ours was 550g), allowed to rest at room temperature for 1-3 hours, and patted dry
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil of your choice
  • ½-1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite salt-and-sugar-free spice mix

How to go about it:

  • Preheat your oven to 150C.  Prepare a shallow oven pan with a rack on it.
  • Rub your roast with oil, then salt and spice mix.
  • Preheat a cast-iron pan (and oil it) to just-above-medium heat.  I used setting 7 out of 9.
  • Brown the roast on all sides for a few seconds, till the meat is mildly browned.
  • Using tongs, take the meat out of the pan, place it on the rack, insert meat thermometer and place meat in the oven.  Roast until internal temperature reaches 45C.  In meantime you can cut up salad, or prepare whatever it is you wanted to make for sides.
  • Once temperature reaches 45C, turn oven off and leave the door shut.  Leave the meat in the oven till internal temperature reaches 52C.  Take the meat out and lay it on a cutting board, tenting it with a bit of foil.  Leave thermometer in the meat.
  • Allow meat to rest till internal temperature reaches 55C for gorgeous medium-rare headed towards medium.

Slice, add butter, eat with whatever the heck you want, or just as a steak sandwich on some bread.  It’s amazing.

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.  The luxuriously juicy and tender roasted cow is resting in my stomach and there is much happiness.  And yes, I grabbed the camera as we were just finishing eating, so you get treated to pictures of leftovers, essentially.  There was a salad involved, too, but it was all gone by the time I took a breath and paused inhaling the dinner, and remembered that things such as camera exist.

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6 thoughts on “Roast Beef Dinner for Two – Not Sous Vide!

    1. Hahaha, don’t get me started on kale chips and other hipster-food! And cake pops and cupcakes. Who cares what they taste like in their candy coating, they look cute on Pinterest! Arglebargleblargh! I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing leopard print – or making kale chips! If I want chips, I’ll unapologetically eat some real potato or taro chips (preferably the really good crunchy expensive kind), and if I want cake, by gods, I’ll bake a cake. Or go to a nice patisserie and buy a slice.

      I adore good food, but I prefer not to overcomplicate it. I leave that to people with more time and money to waste.

  1. That’s a nice-looking slice of cow. I’m going to save your procedure for later, because we’re desperately squeezing in the last precious days of outdoor grilling where I live. AccuWeather tells me confidentially that I have about one more week — maybe 10 days — before the inexorable descent into horrible, horrible winter, and I’m making the most of it. The oven can wait.

    Just wondering how long the roast took in the oven at those specifications. Thanks.

    1. Hey!

      You’re here! The Cydonia jam isn’t ready yet! I was going to do it, I swear, and then there were those things, and those other things… and here I am staring at the quinces still perfuming the room from the fruit bowl. I’ll deal with them over the weekend, I promise!

      Good luck with the grilling weather – we’ve dropped way below zero over the past week already (takes a lot to freeze a pond over!). Although I don’t mind the winter so much – which may or may not have to do with local heating and hot water being paid flat-rate and supplied unlimited via hot-water mains.

      About the roast – I didn’t actually time it, since I had the probe stuck in it the whole time since it went in, with an alarm set to beep at me when I needed to do something. I don’t think it took as much as three-quarters of an hour to be honest – I think it was more like 30 minutes or so. The degrees were ticking up visibly when I stopped by to look at the thermometer. Since I am sure I’ll do this again in the coming weeks, I’ll time it to get an idea, but obviously that’ll depend hugely on the size of the roast (and this one was little).

      1. Excuses, excuses. And speaking of quinces (again) I found a novel way to use that last remaining survivor of the Great Japonica Jamfest — I quartered it and plopped the pieces in a big glass of ice-water, which I’m sipping with satisfaction. It’s great! The quinces are so lemony to begin with, it seemed like the thing to do. And when I get to the end, I’m going to eat them. RAW. I love the sour little devils!

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