Jul 02 2009

Beef Roast and Roasted Beans

I mentioned a beef roast I made a while back, so when I made another one last week, I thought I’d write it up as a recipe with pictures.

Arm Roast

Arm Roast

Start with a roast that’s got a decent amount of marbling.  The roast above is an arm roast from a Jersey steer, probably 3 pounds or so.  A chuck roast also works very well.  Rub both sides with salt and pepper:

Coated with Salt and Pepper

Coated with Salt and Pepper

Now get out your crock pot and layer the bottom with onions, celery, a couple bay leaves, and a smashed garlic clove or two.  You can leave the onion whole or in halves if you like to eat soft cooked onions.  If I’m using fresh celery, I put in a couple whole sticks.  This celery had been chopped up and frozen, because we never use a whole head of celery before it goes bad.

Vegetables for Flavor

Vegetables for Flavor

Now pick out some herbs, fresh if available.  I picked rosemary, oregano, and thyme (top left to bottom right in the picture below), which made a nice combination.  Wash any dirt off them.  I leave them whole, so it’s easy to remove the stems later.  Some of the leaves will fall off during cooking, but that’s okay.

Herbs for Roast

Herbs for Roast

Put your roast on top of the vegetables, then the herbs on top of the roast.  I think that’s the best way to layer them, since it’s easy to get the stemmy herbs out later, and the vegetables help keep the roast from overcooking against the bottom.

Ready to Cook

Ready to Cook

There’s no need to add any liquid; the juices from the vegetables and roast will make plenty.  Put the lid on and turn it on low.  If you had potatoes or some larger vegetables in there, it would probably take 8 hours or so, but without them ours gets done in about 6 hours.  Your crock pot may vary.

When it’s about finished, it’s time to get the beans started.  This method of roasting perks up the limp, thin beans you can get in the grocery stores in the winter.  It doesn’t do much for fresh ones that’s better than simple boiling or steaming, but we’re eating a lot of those these days, so we roasted these for a change of pace.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (to save cleaning later), and wash your beans.

Foil-Lined Sheets for Beans

Foil-Lined Sheets for Beans

Washed and Trimmed Green Beans

Washed and Trimmed Green Beans

The recipes I’ve found for roasting beans tell you to put them on the sheet and brush them with oil, but there’s an easier way.  Dry them off with a towel, then drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl with them, and add some salt and pepper.  Roll the beans around with your hands to coat them all over.

Coated with Oil and Spices

Coated with Oil and Spices

Now spread them out on the foil fairly evenly.

Ready to Roast

Ready to Roast

Put them in the oven at 450 degrees.  After ten minutes, take it out and flip the beans over, then cook another ten minutes.  While that’s cooking, it’s time to get the roast ready and make the gravy.  Here’s the finished roast:

Finished Roast

Finished Roast

Discard the herbs and transfer the roast to a plate.  This one cooked a little longer than it needed to, so it’s fairly dark, but it was still good.  It should pull apart with a fork.

Roast Ready to Eat

Roast Ready to Eat

If you want to eat the onions and celery, scoop them out and put with the roast.  Put a cover over it to keep it warm.  Now you need to pour the broth off to make gravy.  Put a saucepan on the stove, and strain the broth from the crock pot into it.  I’m straining it with the lid here, but you can burn yourself that way, so you might want to use a sieve.  If you like pieces of vegetables in your gravy, go ahead and dump them in there too; just be sure to pick out the bay leaves.

Beef Broth for Gravy

Beef Broth for Gravy

I’ll be making a milk gravy here.  You could also replace the milk with water to keep the carbs lower.  Since our side dish was so low in carbs, I figured we could afford a few extra carbs in the gravy.  To a couple cups of milk (or a 1/2 cup, if you use water), stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch until there are no lumps.  That’s about 22 carbs for the milk and 7 for the cornstarch.

Cornstarch and Milk

Cornstarch and Milk

With the broth boiling, drizzle the milk mixture into it while stirring constantly.

Thickening Gravy

Thickening Gravy

Continue to boil and stir for a minute, then turn it down to a simmer and see how thick it’s getting.  It’ll usually be thicker at the table when it cools somewhat, so this takes some practice.  If it’s not thick enough yet, you can add some more cornstarch, just always stir it into a little water first.  (Check the instructions on the cornstarch box.)  If it’s too thick, add some water or milk to thin it.  I like the bubbles to plump up on top just a bit before settling back down.

Milk Gravy

Milk Gravy

When your beans and gravy are both ready, it’s time to eat.  I like the beans to just start getting almost-burnt spots on them, but you may like them a little more or less done.

Roasted Beans

Roasted Beans

Now everything’s ready to eat!  Here it is plated up, with and without gravy.

Roast with Gravy and Beans

Roast with Gravy and Beans

Without Gravy

Without Gravy

Carb-wise, a serving of gravy like that in the picture has about 5 carbs, and a cup of green beans has 5-6, so the whole thing comes in at about 10, which is my limit.  This is a great low-carb meal.

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