- 1 rolled and tied chuck roast, 2.5 lbs. or more
- several cloves of garlic, to your taste
- salt, pepper, fresh rosemary
- for finishing (gravy)
- 1 Tbs. flour
- 1 cup beef broth
Remove meat from the refrigerator about 2 hours before starting the recipe. Do NOT preheat the oven. Insert slivers of garlic, as many as you’d like, here and there in the roast using a sharp pointed knife. Salt and pepper the outside quite heavily. Chop some rosemary needles and pat on here and there. Place in a roasting pan, in the oven. Turn to 300°F. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 100°F. Raise oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to roast to 118°F for rare, 125°F for medium. Let rest 15 minutes in a warm place.
To make gravy, pour off excess fat from the pan, leaving the drippings and about one tablespoon fat. Add the flour and mix well. Add the broth, stir to dissolve and distribute the flour, then place on the heat, and stir and cook, scraping up the stuck bits, until you have a nice consistency, about 5 minutes.
Basic Cooking (super-detailed) Instructions:
First I have to ask: do you have an oven thermometer? If not, unless your oven is pretty new, how will you know whether it is true to temperature? When roasting meat, temperature matters. You want to know what you’ve got to work with. And, do you have an instant-read thermometer to test the meat? If not how will you know when it is done? So, before you start this recipe do go get both of those items and have them at hand, and run an experiment, put the oven thermometer in your oven and try it at different temperatures. See how accurate it is. Figure out what to set your oven at to achieve 300° and 375°. You should, of course, also get the chuck roast. Look for the best meat you can find. It’s an inexpensive cut (relatively, beef prices are rising fast), and worth buying quality. Chuck is not the most tender of meats, and needs to be treated carefully, but if you follow my instructions you will get great results. Many butcher shops (not chain groceries though!) will offer rolled chuck, and you can get it cut to the size you want. I suggest leftovers for sandwiches, so don’t skimp; the roast should be at least 2 1/2 lbs to cook properly, too.
To continue our questions: Why do you always get told to preheat your oven? Some recipes call for starting a roast at 450°F., and turning it down, once the outside is browned. Others call for cooking at a steady 350°. I have a different method, one I’ve never seen in a book, but it works wonderfully, for this roast, for a pork roast, or a rib roast.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator a couple of hours before you are going to roast it. Don’t worry about spoilage, bacterial growth starts at about 4 hours. Really. You want the meat to near room temperature (70°) before you roast, to get an even result.
Season your meat. Keep it simple. If you love garlic (I do) sliver a few cloves and use the tip of a thin knife to make slits to pot the slivers into, all over the roast. Salt and pepper the meat well. I love some fresh rosemary with beef, and of course it grows wild all over the area, so that’s pretty easy. Just chop a small handful of the needles, and sprinkle or pat onto the meat.
Place the meat, on the roasting pan (not one with high sides, just the kind that comes in the oven when you buy a stove) and pop it in the cold oven. Turn the temperature to 300°F, or whatever temperature you need to set it at to achieve that result (see instructions for measuring your oven’s temperature, above).
Roast until the instant-read thermometer, when you pop it into the very middle of the roast, says 100-105°F. Then, and only then, turn up the oven to achieve a 375°F. temperature. For rare, roast until the temperature is 118 in the middle; for medium rare, 125. I can’t tell you exactly how long either step will take. It depends on how accurate your oven is, whether it’s convection or not, the temperature the meat was when you put it in the oven, and how large the roast is. Figure, however, about an hour from start to finish for that 2.5 to 3 lb. roast. Leave some time in your dinner plans, as you only know it will be done when it is—and you still have the most important step to do, which is resting the roast.
When you take the meat out of the oven, sit it on the carving board in a warm place. Leave the instant-read thermometer in it, and you’ll watch over the next 15 minutes as the internal temperature continues to rise. You should get another 15° in rise during that time, more or less. What is happening is that the outside, which is very hot, equalizes with the cooler inside. This is called “carry over” cooking. Also, the juices will stop bubbling and settle, so that when you carve, the meat will retain those juices rather than having them run out all over the board. This is the difference between a dry and tough roast and a juicy and tender one.
Now, you can also make use of the delicious drippings in the pan. There are different ways to do this, too. I like to make a simple gravy. First, spoon off all but about a tablespoon of the accumulated fat. Then, mix a tablespoon of flour into the fat. Add a cup of cold broth. I always have homemade beef broth around, but you can use a quality packaged one if you want. It will be saltier, but still fine. Mix this liquid thoroughly with the flour and fat and then put the pan on the fire. Use a flat-bottomed wooden spatula to stir and scrape up the delicious bits that have stuck, which flavor your gravy nicely. Cook for about 5 minutes, and voila, it’s done. Strain if you don’t want random bits and pieces.
A final note: I always freeze leftover gravy, properly identified and dated, and use it to start the next batch instead of using stock. Sometimes it gets used up on the leftovers, but if not, it’s a wonderful resource. Just take out when you start roasting, and it will be sufficiently thawed to use. Just follow the instructions above, adding the leftover gravy and a cup of water instead of broth.