Friday, October 12, 2007

Sunday-Best Garlic Roast Beef

Serves 6 to 8

Sunday dinner is one of the few meals of the week where everyone seems to find the time to dine together. A prime rib roast is the classic choice for this formal meal, but it can be quite expensive and time consuming to prepare. We wanted to find an alternative roast that was less expensive and faster to cook--without, of course, sacrificing flavor. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

Choose a top sirloin roast for an inexpensive but flavorful roast. It is well marbled, which translates to a tender, juicy texture. Purchase a roast with a thick fat cap, which will render as the beef roasts and keep it moist. Skip a stovetop sear and brown the meat in the oven at a high temperature (450 degrees). Once browned, reduce the temperature (to 300 degrees) to cook the roast through without drying it out. Enhance the flavor of the meat with a hefty dose of garlic. For the biggest garlic flavor lay it on thick with a three-pronged attack: Stud the meat with toasted garlic, rub it with garlic salt and allow it to sit overnight, and coat it while it cooks with a garlic paste. Each step adds a different level of garlic flavor.

Look for a top sirloin roast that has a thick, substantial fat cap still attached. The rendered fat will help to keep the roast moist. When making the jus, taste the reduced broth before adding any of the accumulated meat juices from the roast. The meat juices are well seasoned and may make the jus too salty. A heavy-duty roasting pan with a dark or nonstick finish or a broiler pan is a must for this recipe.

Beef
8 large cloves garlic , unpeeled
1 top sirloin roast (4-pound), with some fat intact

Garlic-Salt Rub
3 large cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Garlic Paste
12 large cloves garlic , peeled, cloves cut in half lengthwise
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Ground black pepper

Jus
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1. For the beef: Toast unpeeled garlic cloves in small skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until spotty brown, about 8 minutes. Set garlic aside. When cool enough to handle, peel cloves and cut into 1/4-inch slivers.

2. Using paring knife, make 1-inch-deep slits all over roast. Insert toasted garlic into slits.

3. For the garlic-salt rub: Mix minced garlic, thyme, and salt together in small bowl. Rub all over roast. Place roast on large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

4. For the garlic paste: Heat halved garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbles start to rise to surface. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic is soft, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Strain, reserving oil. Discard herbs and transfer garlic to small bowl. Mash garlic with 1 tablespoon garlic oil until paste forms. Cover and refrigerate paste until ready to use. Cover and reserve garlic oil.

5. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place nonstick roasting pan or broiler pan bottom on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paper towels, wipe garlic-salt rub off beef. Rub beef with 2 tablespoons reserved garlic oil and season with pepper. Transfer meat, fat side down, to preheated pan and roast, turning as needed until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Remove roasting pan from oven. Turn roast fat side up and, using spatula, coat top with garlic paste. Return meat to oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 70 minutes. Transfer roast to cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.

7. For the jus: Drain excess fat from roasting pan and place pan over high heat. Add broths and bring to boil, using wooden spoon to scrape browned bits from bottom of pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Add accumulated juices from roast and cook 1 minute. Pour through fine-mesh strainer. Slice roast crosswise against grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve with jus.

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