The United Kingdom in the nineteenth century was perhaps the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. One of the ways in which the British people of the time enjoyed that wealth was to eat plenty of meat, often grassfed beef. Beef was relatively affordable and plentiful in England at that time, as opposed to the rest of Europe, where meat, especially beef, was a very rare treat.
Yet even the English middle and working classes had to watch their money, and they came up with a way to make beef go further.
They invented the tradition of the Sunday Roast. A large roast of beef would be roasted on Sunday, and would be used as the basis of meals for most of the rest of the week.
These meals would include cold-sliced meat, hash, curries, minced beef, broth, and meat pies, all from the same roast.
Contrary to popular belief, leftover beef can be wonderful when twice or even thrice cooked, with a very deep and wonderful flavor. A bigger roast will often taste better than a smaller roast, but as there are three people in our immediate family, we did not make large roasts unless we had company.
I decided to try reviving the tradition, but with a tastier selection of secondary dishes. This would also give me the excuse to make a large roast.
The results were delicious, and surprisingly frugal.
We made a large center cut shoulder roast, about five and a half pounds. This cut is also known as cross rib in the western United States. The roast was suitably marinated, and roasted, until fairly rare in the middle. The hot, juicy meat was wonderful, and satisfying, with a more developed flavor that comes from cooking a bigger piece of meat. It was so satisfying that we had most of the roast left over.
I cut a large, single piece of the leftover roast and cooked it as a pot roast. The twice-cooked meat was so tender, with a wonderful deep flavor. It was fork tender, and no one would have thought it came from leftovers. It was very satisfying, and we had a fair amount of leftover pot roast and gravy.
I took more of the leftover roast, the part that was made very rare, and sliced it into thin pieces for stir-frying. They were marinated with an oriental style marinade, and stir-fried with delicious organic peppers, shallots, and onions from our favorite vegetable farm. You can see a photo of this wonderful meal at the top of this article. It tasted even better than it looks, and no one would have imagined it was made from leftovers.
I took some more of the leftover roast, cut it into small chunks, and made it into a stew with plenty of vegetables and Hungarian spices. It came out great, so tender and flavorful. Not like leftovers at all.
I took the leftover pot roast, sliced it thin, and reheated it gently in the leftover gravy, enhanced with a sautéed onion and some more beef broth. Many traditional European recipes call for cooking a pot roast one day, and reheating it later. This is done so the flavor can develop in the refrigerator, and I must say that this reheated pot roast was over-the-top delicious, with a more complex and beefier flavor than the original roast. These slices were actually thrice cooked—first as a roast beef, second as a pot roast, and third as reheated pot roast slices.
At this point, there was only about a third of a pound of scraps, including some sinew, left from the various meals. They went into the freezer to become part of a future homemade broth.
By following the tradition of re-cooking the leftovers of a large roast, we had five wonderful meals, and some meat for soup. A complete success, moderate in cost, and absolutely delicious.
Tender Grassfed Meat contains a number of recipes for roasts, pot roasts, and stir fries. It is simple to modify one of the beef roast recipes for a larger roast, simply continue cooking at the lowest temperature in the recipe, until done to your taste. The pot roasts can be made from a large chunk of leftover roast. The stir-fries can be made from leftover rare or medium rare roast beef. The cooking instructions are the same, although a pot roast made from leftover beef may be ready sooner. Remember, when the fork goes in easy, the pot roast is ready.
There is a reason why something becomes a cooking tradition–it works!
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