Making Roast Beef and Potato Gratin

Making Roast Beef
and Potato Gratin

This lesson focuses on roast beef. Roasting beef is a relatively simple process with a few basic steps. To prepare, let the meat sit out for approximately one hour before you begin roasting it. Additionally, as side dishes, this lesson has you create potato gratin and green beans.

Roast Beef Au Jus, Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin, and Green Beans

Preparing the Beef
Following the chef’s demonstration from the video lesson, use a knife to prepare your cut of beef. Keep the fat cut off during this process for use in this recipe’s sauce later. Additionally, tie the meat so that it pushes up instead of flattening during the cooking process.

Once the beef is ready, put it into a roasting pan with a rack on the bottom. Season generously with salt and pepper. When the beef is prepared, put it in the oven. Roast it at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. At that point, turn the heat down to 325 and let the beef cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees.

Preparing the Potatoes
To start the potatoes au gratin, heat butter in a medium-‑sized pot. Peel your potatoes. Once the butter has fully melted, add some shallots and sweat them. Also add a small amount of garlic. Cook for another 10 seconds, and then add heavy cream. Grate some nutmeg into the mixture. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper, and then turn the heat to medium. Slice the potatoes into the pot. A Japanese mandoline is a helpful tool for this. Make sure the potatoes are completely covered in the cream. Cook them for a couple of minutes, until they begin to become fork-‑tender. The goal is to cook them halfway. Stir periodically to release the starch, but do not break up the potatoes. Season with more salt as necessary.

Select a pan with high walls. When the potatoes are ready, begin layering them evenly into the pan. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. With a damp towel, wipe the edges of the pan to clean it and ensure nothing will burn. Cover the potatoes with Gruyère and Parmesan cheese. Add a bit of butter to the top. Put this pan in an oven at 375 degrees on the top shelf.

Preparing the Green Beans
To start the green beans, bring a large pot of water to a boil. You should have at least a four-‑to-‑one water-‑to-‑beans ratio; for example, if you are cooking one pound of beans, you should have four pounds of water. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. Boil the green beans for six to seven minutes, swirling them on occasion. Try to never lose the boil.

Once the beans are ready, take them off the heat and fully submerge them in ice water for a few minutes. Let them stay in the ice water long enough to cool down. Then, remove them and put them in a container. Try to keep them all facing in the same direction. They will be ready to heat up before serving.

Preparing the Au Jus
To prepare the au jus, start with a small, cold pan. Turn heat on under the pan and add the beef fat that you trimmed earlier to the pan. Also add some oil. Once the fats render out, add shallots. Sweat the shallots.

Next, add sliced garlic and turn the heat down. Let this mixture cook for a minute. Then, deglaze with red wine. Be careful with the alcohol; it may catch on fire. Cook this down to au sec—that is, reduce it until the pan is nearly dry.

Once the pan’s contents are au sec, add demi-glace and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let it reduce. Finish with two splashes of soy sauce. Bring the pan to temp.

Finishing Steps and Plating
Next, check on the potatoes and beef to see how close to finished they are. Once the beef has reached 120 degrees, take it out and let it rest for an hour. It will continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees. Continue to cook the potatoes and au jus until they are ready. You can use a paring knife to check the potatoes. If there is no resistance, that is a sign the potatoes are cooked. Set them aside to cool slightly.

When the sauce is ready, strain it into a pot through a fine mesh strainer. Put a lid on it and store it in a warm area.

Finish the green beans in a sauté pan. Heat a small amount of butter. Let it melt. Sweat some shallots, and then add a small amount of water. This creates a simple sauce called beurre fondue, which will stop the milk solids in the butter from browning. This method will also coat the green beans with the butter and water solution. Season the beans with salt and pepper. When they are ready, turn the heat off and keep them in a warm area.

The next step is to prepare the roast. Following the chef’s demonstration in the video lesson, remove the string and carve the beef.

To plate this meal, position the green beans on the plate first. Next, add the potatoes, followed by the beef. Add a small amount of salt on top. Serve the au jus on the side.

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