This post was sponsored by Better Than Bouillon as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Today we’re preparing a Top Round Beef Roast, which we’ll be topping with a thick brown gravy. This classic combination is perfect for small holiday gatherings or as a satisfying Sunday dinner. This recipe is shockingly easy to pull together, and a delight for senses.
We’ll be putting together today’s roast with a little help from our new friends over at Better Than Bouillon, but more on them in just a second.
In this recipe, we’ll be covering some gravy basics, including how to prepare a roux, the different types of roux, and how to use each type. We’ll also be covering some top round roast basics, and how best to pair today’s roast. I’ll also be providing an ingredient checklist and notes on each ingredient.
Top Round Roast – A Brief Primer
Top Round Roast comes from the ‘round’ of the cow, which is the hind area just above the shanks. This area of the cow is used for movement and support, and thus is under constant ‘tension’ when the cow is standing still, and receives exercise whenever the cow moves. Thus, the area tends to contain very, very little fat, while the ‘muscle meat’ tends to be very well developed. This leads to the area being tough (developed muscles), and being short on flavor (low fat), in comparison to other areas of the cow. However, this also has the effect of the making the meat perfect for ‘low and slow’ roasting. Regardless, there are a few ways to get around the meat’s general toughness and lack of fat. The first and most common method is to rub the roast down – thoroughly – with butter. This has the effect of introducing ‘fat’ into the roast, which it lacks naturally on its own, whilst also giving the outside of the roast just a hint of crispness during roasting. The second method is what we’re doing today, which to blend together oil and herbs, and then rub the roast down with that. While this doesn’t add quite as much ‘fat’ back into the roast, it does make for a much more flavorful roast, in my opinion.
Ingredient Checklist for the Rub
- Rosemary. This, to me, ‘makes’ the rub, as fresh rosemary just works so well with meaty recipes such as this one.
- Salt. Ground sea salt would work wonders here.
- Black Pepper. Freshly ground pepper, in my opinion, is preferable for this particular recipe.
- Oregano. Dried is what you’re looking for. Fresh will be overpowering for this recipe.
- Garlic. Peel and then mince the garlic as fine as you can manage.
- Olive Oil. This acts as a base, binding the ingredients into a paste to allow rubbing it over the roast.
Ingredient Checklist for the Gravy
- Flour. The primary ingredient in the roux, along with the butter.
- Butter. Fat brings the gravy together by forming the base for the roux.
- Olive Oil. Roux can use either butter or oil, or a mix of both. For today’s roux, we’re opting for a mix of both. The addition of oil helps keep the roux from becoming too thick.
- Pan Drippings. A bit more fat for the roux, plus delicious ‘meaty flavor.’ This also adds in needed moisture.
- Bouillon. A good bouillon is, in my opinion, a must-have for ‘most’ gravy recipes. This is especially true if the gravy is being use as a ‘table sauce.’ Personally, I’m using Better Than Bouillon, which is acting as the flavor base for the gravy we’re using on the roast.
- Salt. Plain table salt is all you need here.
- Pepper. Freshly ground black pepper. I do prefer fresh ground, or even mortar ground pepper for my gravies, as the difference in aroma is quite noticeable.
Gravy Basics – A Brief Tutorial
- The Types of Roux. Gravy starts out as a basic roux. Roux comes in four classifications – white, blonde, brown, and dark brown. Each type contains the same basic ingredients (flour and fat), and are instead differentiated by cooking time. White roux is generally cooked for about five minutes or less, while dark brown roux can be cooked for upwards of thirty minutes. Generally speaking, white roux is not eaten on its own, but is instead used as an ingredient, typically as a thickening agent in various white sauces, such as bechamel. Blonde roux, also, is generally used as an ingredient, such as in velouté sauce, since it has a ‘darker’ or ‘nuttier’ flavor and a heavier texture than white roux. Finally, brown and dark brown roux are what you can begin to recognize as ‘gravy.’ Deeply flavorful and ‘pleasantly textured’ on its own, once you flavor it with pan drippings and herbs, you’ve got yourself a proper ‘table sauce.’ However, brown and dark brown roux are also sometimes used as an ingredient in dishes like gumbo.
- How To Make Roux. Begin with equal parts flour and ‘fat’ (fat can be butter, oil, vegetable oil, or a combination of butter and oil). It is ‘very’ important that you divide these parts by weight. Thus, one cup of fat (butter and/or oil) requires one cup of flour, and so forth. Begin by melting the butter in a sauce pan, and then add in the flour (add the flour all at once). Whisk this mixture until a thick, paste-like mixture has come together. Continue whisking until it has achieved the color you desire. Brown roux needs to be stirred constantly and vigorously to keep it from burning. Thus, the longer you cook your roux the more attention you need to give it. Do not leave ‘any’ type of roux cooking unattended. Seasonings and/or pan drippings, are added in with the flour.
- From Roux to Gravy. Roux becomes gravy based on what you add to it, such as pan drippings, seasonings, or – as we’re doing here – bouillon. Today, we’re sprucing up the roux with Better Than Bouillon Beef Base, which adds in a delicious roasted beef flavor. This is the easiest way to spruce up your roux, which in turn produces a deliciously seasoned, full-bodied gravy. So, be sure to spruce up your holiday by heading over to Better than Bouillon.
Pairing a Top Round Roast
- Biscuits. Flaky biscuits and a beef roast. That really is a match made in culinary heaven.
- Warmed Green Bean Salad. An ideal pairing, especially on chilled autumn or winter nights would be string beans sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with cherry tomatoes, sweet onion, and plenty of garlic. Red and black pepper, and a dusting of parmesan, make this a wonderfully flavorful, yet blissfully simple, side dish.
- Sweet Potato Soup. A hardy sweet potato soup, prepared with an earthy and warming mix of onions, carrots, and, of course, sweet potatoes, carried on a chicken and parmesan broth, with plenty of herbs and garlic. The end result is a warming, flavorful soup that’s perfect for wintry meals, such as today’s top round roast.
Herbed Top Round Roast with Gravy
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- 4 1/2 lb. Top Round Boneless Roast
- 5 – 6 carrots, peeled – for a rack for the roast
For the Rub:
- 2 tbs. of fresh rosemary, about 2 – 3 inch sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stems
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 small heads of garlic
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tbs. olive oil
For the Gravy:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups pan drippings (or water)
- 2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the roast & rub:
- Place the garlic, removed from its skin, in a small dry cast iron frying pan and allow the garlic to get a golden color.
- Add the rosemary and the seasonings and toss.
- Add the olive oil and toss.
- Place this mixture in a food processor and give a few good chops.
- Using a large cast iron frying pan, place carrots down as a rack for the roast.
- Rub the roast down with the garlic mixture. Filling all crevasses and thoroughly messaging the roast with the mixture.
- Add a cup of water, or ½ water and ½ wine, to the bottom of the pan about 15 – 20 minutes before removing the roast from the pan. These drippings make a beautiful gravy.
- Preheat Oven 350 degrees F.
- Place the roast in the oven and cook for 25 – 30 minutes per pound for a medium cooked roast. The internal temperature should be about 145 degrees F. For a medium rare cooked roast subtract about 5 – 7 minutes per pound and the internal temperature should read about 135 degrees F.
- When the roast is removed from the oven loosely tent the roast with tin-foil and let the roast rest for 10 – 12 minutes before slicing.
For the gravy:
- In a pan, melt down butter with oil. Whisk in the flour until a thick paste forms (the roux).
- Add the pan drippings or water if you don’t have pan drippings. Keep whisking until smooth and desired thickness is achieved.
- Add the bouillon and seasonings.
- Leave on low heat until ready to serve.
- Serving Size: 1
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