Roasting can be as simple as putting the meat on a tray and putting in the oven until cooked. But it is also possible to make things a little more interesting than that too, by adding marinades, stuffings, crusts and condiments etc.
What I decide to add to the meat in terms of flavourings tends to be dictated by the cut that I'm dealing with. For instance if I am cooking a roasted eye fillet I will probably choose to cover it something highly flavoured like sauteed onions herbs and porcini mushrooms, then wrap it up in some prosciutto before cooking it. While there's no denying that the eye fillet is a tender cut, it's fat content is much lower than other parts of the beast. And fat equals flavour, so we sacrifice that flavour for a tender cut that might not be as tasty as some. Many beef and steak aficionados will tell you that the rump is the tastiest portion,but I find it tends to me a little tough for my tastes. Personally, I can't go past the rib eye for both flavour and tenderness.
Firstly, it looks amazing. An absolute showpiece to carve at the table and impress everyone. Secondly, its tastes amazing and really doesn't need to be tricked up very much at all.
A few years ago I went to a cooking day at the farm of former TV host, Geoff Jansz. He demonstrated this slightly different technique for roasting that I have followed ever since and found it possesses the twin benefits of producing a perfect and tender result every time and allows me to have the roast totally finished before my dinner guests even ring the doorbell.
It's a big dilemma in the cooking world. 'To sear or not to sear'. Once upon a time, we were told to sear the meat to seal in the juices. This theory was scientifically disproved in a study by measuring the moisture content of cooked meat that had been both seared and not seared, with the seared meat turning out to be a little bit dryer than the unseared. The difference that searing actually made was improving the flavour by caramelising the surface making it generally more appetising.
By way of a compromise between these two ideas, I use is this technique:
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 200degrees c. Place the meat unseared, on a rack in a a roasting tray so that the meat does not touch the bottom of the tray. Put a couple of centimetres of water in the bottom of the tray, ensuring that the water is not touching the meat, and place in the oven. Reduce oven temp to 140 degrees c after 15 minutes.
I cook the meat until the core temperature of the roast is about 60 degrees c which would be rare/medium rare. A meat thermometer is a very handy tool to have in your kitchen and only costs about $10 from a cookware shop. If you feel confident with determining the firmness of the meat by feeling it with your fingers then cook until rare. The time will obviously vary depending on the weight of your roast and the type of oven yo have, but I usually allow about 30 min per 500gm. Give yourself plenty of time to get this done before the guests arrive and make sure you have at least an hour for the most important part of the preparation; Resting the roast.
I remove it from the oven and wrap the whole roast, baking dish and all, in a couple of layers of aluminium foil, totally sealed, and rest for at least an hour. Up to 2 hours is even better. Then, just before serving, I unwrap the roast, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning, and sear the outside on either my stove top grill plate, a BBQ, or even just a roasting pan on the stove top. The meat stays warm throughout the resting process because it is kept in the hot roasting tray and is insulated by the foil. The final searing gives the surface of the meat that delicious caramelisation that is so appetizing.
My dear blog will be a little quiet for the next couple of weeks because my family and I are off on a vacation to Vanuatu. Apparently the food at the resort we are going to is wonderful so if the Internet connection is reliable, I may be able to blog about what we are eating.....
Otherwise, Wishing a happy and safe Easter break to my family, friends and readers, and may the Easter Bunny bring you very high quality chocolate!