Wednesday, December 5, 2012
How The Grinch Stole A Roast Beast
We all know this book. I could have labeled this simply "Roast Beast" and everyone would know which book we were going to talk about (unless you're like me; I have read this book and/or seen the movie version every year for almost 3 decades now, and tend to call any roast a "roast beast"). But just in case you're not into that sort of thing - today we're talking about Dr. Seuss's classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Just as a warning, though, I am totally going to ruin the end of this story, so be forewarned.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (yes, the ! is part of the title) was written by Dr. Seuss in 1957 as a comment on the commercialism of the holiday. Our story begins as the town of Whoville is merrily preparing for Christmas by decorating and celebrating. Everyone is having a wonderful time - everyone, that is, except the Grinch, who lived just north of town with his trusty dog, Max. It's bad enough when everyone opens their gifts and plays loudly with them, but then - then!! - the Whos all gather and start to SING. The Grinch knew he wouldn't be able to stand one more Christmas celebration, and he thought up a devious Grinchy plan "to stop Christmas from coming."
First, he made himself a Santy Claus hat and a coat, and he dressed up Max as a reindeer, and then he snuck into Whoville and, as the town was asleep, stole every gift, every candy cane, every tree and ornament and stocking! That Grinch took the Who Pudding, the rare Who Roast Beast! Why, that nasty fellow took the last can of Who-Hash, and left nothing but crumbs much too small for the Whos' mouses. But then, as he got up to the top of Mt. Crumpit to dump all the cheerfulness over a cliff, he paused to listen ... and heard the Whos singing, even without their material goods! He discovered that Christmas "came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags." It is only then that he realizes that Christmas doesn't come from a store, and, with his undersized heart expanding wildly, he returns everything to the Who families, and he - he himself, the Grinch - carved the Roast Beast at their dinner feast.
I love this book, and I'm quite partial to the 1966 TV version that was narrated by Boris Karloff. (Fun fact: the "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" song was sung by a gentleman named Thurl Ravenscroft, who was also the voice of Tony the Tiger and sang the "No Dogs Allowed" song from Snoopy, Come Home.)
Anyhow. Roast Beast is a lovely way to ring in the Christmas season, and Guest Chef Theone made this one for us!
- one 5 lb. beef roast, with no bone
- Olive oil
- Pepper and assorted spices, as per your preference
- Potatoes, carrots, and celery, as per your preference
- Lard for the pan (optional)
Here is Theone's recipe:
Here's the roast beast with potatoes (actually a 5 lb beef roast, no bone).
1) I dried the roast with paper towels (because Julia Child says to), rubbed it with olive oil and rubbed a mixture of pepper, sage, lemon thyme, rosemary & onion powder into all the sides, although any combination of herbs that make you happy will do. (Note the spice coverage! Beautifully done! -Kat)
2) Then I plopped it on top of some cut up potatoes, fat side down, threw in a few garlic cloves, a bit of lard (it was a lean beast & there's nothing worse than burnt potatoes) and some more potatoes.
3) I cooked it at 350 for an hour (covered) and 300 for another hour (uncovered).
I plan on serving it with horseradish sauce but a cream-vermouth sauce would be tasty, as would some high quality bleu cheese dressing or some dark, complex mustard.
Doesn't that look absolutely delicious?! It's making me hungry to look at it, and i just had dinner!
Here are some of my own notes:
* I usually sear my beast before I put it in the oven, to get a lovely brown crust on the outside. This is a personal preference. Some people say they can't tell the difference.
* A medium-rare beast is going to be 145 - 150 degrees inside when it's done. Use a meat thermometer to determine when it's done. The USDA doesn't recommend eating it if it hasn't been cooked to at least 145. Please note that your roast will continue cooking for a few minutes after it's out of the oven, so you should cook it to at least 140, and it will be fine.
* Do NOT cut into your beast until it has rested for 15-20 minutes!!! All the juices will run out, and you'll be very sad to have a dry cut of meat. Use this time to make dinner rolls or something, or set the table. And wash your hands.
* I've never used lard in my roast beast, but I trust GCT fully, and I'm sure it's delicious. Don't fear the lard! (Or, if you do, a little beef stock or onion soup to keep the taters from burning should be nice.)
* For my favorite use of leftovers, slice the beast thinly and make a sandwich with the meat, horseradish sauce, and a little Swiss cheese on sourdough. (I usually sprinkle with oregano and stick this under the broiler.) You can also reheat slices in onion soup and serve with mashed potatoes. Yum!!
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