I had a five-pound rib eye roast thawing from when mom came visiting with a HUGE cooler full of meat (as moms will sometimes do, and as my mom feels compelled to do), so I knew I had to make a phone call.
I’ve never made roast beef before. Well, I mean, not a roast roast. I’ve made pot roasts from chuck meat, and otherwise braised chuck (or pressure-cooked it), but never a regular roast of beef.
“Mom, thanks for the rib roast; now what do I do with it?”
Thankfully, Mom actually likes these calls. They’re certainly invaluable to me.
Rub it all over with salt and pepper and garlic, she says.
Then roast it at 350F for 20 minutes a pound (or 25 if it’s still kinda frozen). Don’t forget to put a little water in the roasting pan so there’s enough liquid left at the end to make pan gravy.
I was nervous about mom’s time schedule, because I know she wings it a lot of the time, so I played it safe: I put a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roast and checked my reference book to find out the internal temperature of rare roast beef.
Need I even tell you that mom’s timing was exactly spot on? Does mother always know best? I don’t know, but MY mother always knows best about cooking Mom Food.
Just in case you don’t already know, pan gravy is made like so: Pour the meat juices out of the roasting pan into a small saucepan. Make a slurry of corn starch and water. Bring the meat juices to a boil and add the corn starch slurry in (a little bit at a time — you’ll get the feel for how much you need after some practice). As soon as it comes to a boil again, that’s how thick it will be, so add more if it’s not thick enough, or add some water/stock if it’s too thick. Taste for seasoning, adjust seasoning, and you’re done.
For the mash, I cooked white potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower together in a covered nonstick pan, in butter and olive oil, until they were mashable. Next, I mashed them with a teaspoon of chili powder, a bit of salt, and a teaspoon of paprika.
The result was a perfectly rare roast that made beautiful sandwiches the next day. The kid microwaved hers to make it well done, which is more to her taste.
I know it makes my mom happy to load our fridge up with dead animals. I’m not sure she knows how connected I feel with her when I turn them into dinner. And yes, I was a vegetarian for 20 years. No, meat’s not my favorite thing. But there’s more to Mom Food than my personal preferences. More on that in an upcoming post. For now, I’ll rock in my chair and think about how I’m becoming my mother.
Without the always-being-right part.
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