More Gravy, Please

Shadow

Summer Shadow on My Balcony

My first ever dinner in Australia was with a lovely Australian family in Port Melbourne. They were so nice and tried to cater for my Asian palates by preparing fried rice and spring rolls. I felt so welcomed by their hospitability but not the food. It was almost inedible actually (the rice was uncooked and the spring rolls had some strange smell to them). But the next dinner was something totally different. It was my first time trying roast beef with some pan-fried potatoes and steamed green beans. Oh my, and it was really delicious. I guess I wasn´t a particular foreign student, since I could eat almost everything. (Some Asians don´t touch lamb (!!!) or anything too rich). And the next two years living in such lovely homestay, roast dinner has become something I truly embrace.

Despite the love for roast beef (and lamb in that matter), I have rarely made it since I gain my `independence´ (i.e. living by myself, not under any `family control´). However, as colder days approach, I feel a real craving for some nicely cooked roast dinner. So here it comes….

Roast Beef

But what makes great roast? The meat? Or for me personally, it is the gravy. Real gravy made from the roast vegetable and the burn bits from the roast. Just quickly deglaze the roast pan with some red wine, then add the hot steamy stock (or even simply water), a bit of boiling to reduce the sauce and the flavours come out so wonderfully. Have a taste and I wonder why I even bother with tasteless package gravy.

Yes, I have a heart for real gravy. In the recipe I use today, the quality of the vegetables really makes the difference. And don´t forget those tiny sprigs of thyme whose fragrance does bring the whole dish to a new level. How simple, how marvelous. Packed with flavours, I am sending this entry to the gorgeous Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook who is our host of Weekend Herb Blogging this weekend.

Before leaving you with the recipe, I would like to apology for the quality of the roast photos. I seldom take photos with food these days (no time!) and it seems like I have lost the touch with it.Oh well, hopefully it will come back soon. :)

Roast Beef

Based on a recipe by Shannon Bennet.

Ingredients

1 piece of Scotch fillet piece, about 1 kg, rolled and tied (or you can use other cuts which are suitable for roasting)

Salt & Pepper

Some olive oil

1 head of garlic, halve across

1 small carrot, roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped

8 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves (fresh if possible)

1.5 tbsp plain flour

200ml red wine

500ml beef stock or plain water

To serve: pan-fried potatoes, steamed beans (up to you!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Put a large roasting tray over med high heat on top of the stove.
  2. Generously season the beef with salt & pepper. When the tray is hot, add oil and then the beef. Pan-roast the beef until dark and caramelized all sides. Add the veg to the tray, cook until they have some color, then the herbs.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 45 mins (a meat thermometer is handy here).
  4. Remove the tray from the oven. Cover the beef with foil and rest it for about 20 mins,
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy by putting the roasting tray over med high heat on top of the stove. Sprinkle some plain flour all over, cook the flour, then add the red wine, scraping all the caramelized pieces off the base. Reduce the liquid by two-thirds. Then, add hot stock. Bring to the boil and reduced by half. Check seasoning.
  6. Save all the meat juices from the foil and add to the gravy. Strain, discard solids. Keep warm.
  7. Slice the beef to serve with the gravy, potatoes and veg.

20 Responses to More Gravy, Please

  1. Manggy says:

    Anh, your photos look fine to me :) I’m not an avid roastivore but I seriously want some o’ that meat!

  2. Johanna says:

    It is indeed weather for roast dinners (though in my case it means nut roast) and lots of gravy – it always feels like an indulgence but is so comforting

  3. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Just when you are moving into roast dinner weather, we’re finally emerging into Spring and looking forward to salads and foods from the garden!

  4. Susan says:

    Vegetables enrich a stock just as much as meat does. A beautiful treat, Anh. You are so right – gravy is moreish! Thanks for sharing your recipe w/ WHB!

  5. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Anh, my dear, you would never look the touch – your photos are and will always be amazing!

  6. Callipygia says:

    I don’t eat too much roasts either, but your food has me salivating too. I was just thinking about how sentimental we can be over our “first taste” of something. And can’t help smiling at the thought of those funny smelling eggrolls!

  7. Ellie @ Kitchen Wench says:

    Beautiful! I’ve been concentrating on soups in this cold weather, but seeing this post reminds me that these cold nights mean I can bring back the roast too! And you’re right, there’s nothing like home-made gravy :)

  8. KJ says:

    I agree. There’s nothing like a roast dinner with ‘proper’ gravy. So homey and comforting.

  9. tigerfish says:

    But the roast looks so perfect – I think I can do without more gravy. I mean…I still want gravy but if not enough to pass around, it’s ok ;p ..as the roast meat is tempting me too much.

  10. Veron says:

    Anh, this roast looks amazing. Love the gravy that is actually made from the fond that is created from roasting!

  11. Cynthia says:

    Sometimes it’s the thought that counts huh… that was very kind of your hosts.

  12. Kalyn says:

    Sounds like a delicious meal. I think you’re doing fine with your photos, they look very appetizing, which is what counts! Personally I think meat is very hard to photograph well compared to many other foods. Love the sound of the gravy with a touch of thyme!

  13. Ange says:

    Love gravy too, I even remember back to my drinking days when we would all go to the pub after work & stand around baskets of chips & gravy whilst downing our beers – I can guarantee you it was no gourmet hand made gravy but was still delicious!

  14. aforkfulofspaghetti says:

    Good gravy can really make a roast – just as bad gravy can really ruin it! Funnily enough, I had the finest gravy I’ve ever tasted the other day – made not by a chef, but by an unassuming friend of mine. Combined with mouthwatering, slightly bloody beef, it was terrific – just like yours looks to be, too!

  15. ChichaJo says:

    Your photos still tempt me Anh! My problem is that I don’t have aversions to anything…so I eat so much more! Homemade old-fashioned gravy is the best…a quite simple if you really think about it…

  16. Nan says:

    I love your roast photos…it’s so hard to take good pictures of meat (I find, anyway)! Good call on the gravy, also 😉

  17. myfrenchkitchen says:

    your photos still look great Ahn..makes my mouth water…that touch of gravy on your roast and the healthy greens!

  18. Mansi Desai says:

    wow, that picture from your balcony is captivating! btw, I’ve sent you my entry for WHB; I hope you got it in time!

  19. katiez says:

    Always, always, the gravy! When I was little I out it on everything! ( I still do, just won’t admit to it)

  20. Tim says:

    I love seeing recipes like this from chefs of that calibre. There really is no secret to making a perfect roast.

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