Roast Beef; a.k.a. Mom’s always right

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.

roast plated

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.

green beans

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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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

15 thoughts on “Roast Beef; a.k.a. Mom’s always right”

    1. I’m askeered of them! But I guess if I’m gonna mess something up, they’re an inexpensive thing to just toss in the trash. :-)

      1. Don’t be scared, my grandmother taught me to make them as a teenager and they are easy, but soooo delicious. I make them in a muffin pan now for individual serves.

  1. ….”white potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower” …. what are the proportions? Do you have to drain anything off before mashing? Did you cook them all at the same time in the same pot ? Some of us need specifics. You ARE becoming your mother!

    1. You can either do them like you do mashed potatoes, as I usually do, (boil until soft, then mash with butter and salt and spices) or do as I did this time and just sautee them in a covered nonstick pot in some butter and olive oil, then mash them when they’re soft. As for proportions, it’s very forgiving. All three veggies are very good mashed with butter, so no matter how much you have of any of them, it turns out really well. Use what you have. My mother encouraged me, and I encourage you, to be bold and experiment! :-)

  2. I’ve mashed potatoes, and used mashed cauliflower as a stand-in (lower carb, supposedly), and steamed carrots but I’ve never thought to combine them all in one. Will have to put that on the list to try!

    1. And now I’m dying for mashed cauliflower. This food-blogging thing makes a person hungry! :-)

      1. A pound of cauliflower mashed with 4 oz low-fat cream cheese, 4T butter and whatever seasonings you like (chives and garlic are our favorite) and you don’t even miss that it’s not potatoes!

        1. Oh, I like potatoes, and eat them a lot, so I don’t miss them anyway, but I do love cauliflower a lot, too, and how can you miss when you add cream cheese and butter?? :-)

    1. Without, I wouldn’t have tried it. I would have found it overly fussy, but yeah, it really helps; thanks!

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