Concerning a humbling experience.
Hubby and I splurged on a roast last week and tonight was the special night we planned to eat it. Well, Hubby planned, that is. I forgot we had it.
Last night I stuffed it full of garlic slivers in preparation. Like, a lot of garlic. And today realized that I forgot to read the label before throwing it away so I didn’t know what kind of roast beef cut it was, nor what it weighed. The latter was easily remedied, of course. I weighed it out and it was just under 2.5lb. I wonder how much of that was garlic? As for the cut though? Remains a mystery.
I may have remembered to prep the roast last night, but it did not occur to me to locate a recipe until this afternoon. I located a nice looking recipe with links to yorkshire pudding and gravy and, reading through, discovered that I should have taken the meat out of the fridge so it would be at room temperature when I cooked it. Also, I should have already mixed the batter for the yorkshire puddings.
But little details like that are not going to stop me from making a fantastic roast beef meal!
To make a very long and hectic experience short: I made the roast, I made the yorkshire puddings, I made the gravy, and I made the garlic mashed potatoes.
I’m amazing!!!! Right!?
I will take full credit for the mashed potatoes being an unqualified success! They were totally delicious and fluffy and super garlic-y. Just the way they were meant to be.
I would like to pass on the credit for the rest of the meal, if that is possible.
Let’s start with the yorkshire pudding: After peeking at the roast while it was cooking and noticing a very distinct lack of drippings, I decided to use bacon fat. Also, Doll spilled a portion of the batter in her quest to find dishes to play with in the sink. So although it’s true that the yorkshire puddings came out technically perfect they simply didn’t taste right, having been made with bacon “drippings” rather than drippings from the roast.
And in case you were wondering: No, they did not taste of bacon at all.
Moving on to the failed gravy: Remember that “distinct lack of drippings” I mentioned? Well, if you think that was a problem for the yorkshire puddings imagine how devastating it was when it came to making gravy! By the time the roast came out of the oven, I probably managed a whopping 1/2 tbsp of drippings. I needed at least 1/2 cup.
And I did not have a backup plan (aka envelope gravy). Know what I did? I put that maybe-half-tablespoon of drippings with a cup of water on the stove and boiled it. Then I whisked in 1/2 tbsp of flour (which, for the record, did not particularly work. Never skip the roux step!). Amazingly enough, it actually did thicken into gravy-consistency. And developed a nice brown colour. However it was sorely lacking in the flavour department. I had some on my mashed potatoes and I’m not actually sure I tasted anything at all.
And now for the coup de grâce: The roast. I aimed for medium doneness.
By a lot.
I suppose you’re picturing my poor, dried out, horribly over-cooked roast, are you? Well stop. Because it went the other direction.
Think rare. Or raw. Yes, raw is quite a more fitting description. The edges were cooked. Yay, me. But the rest was distinctly uncooked.
I suppose I must have had the thermometer seated incorrectly. Or I must have mis-timed how long it would need. Perhaps I mis-weighed it? Perhaps it was some of all of those. With a little Doll-overflowing-the-sink-playing-at-washing-dishes thrown in. Not that I’m making excuses!
(List of unmade excuses:
- Doll accidentally pouring water on the counter. Often.
- Doll accidentally pouring water on the floor. Often.
- Poni being consistenly unhappy no matter what I did with her.
- Hubby thrusting his phone in my face to show me pictures of motorcycles and asking me what I think.
- That one has a red tank.
- That one has a low seat.
- That one has saddlebags.
- That one is just a frame.)
So yes, the mashed potatoes were Amazing! The rest not so much. Did I mention that everything (except those wonderful potatoes!) was lukewarm? Poni seemed like she was ready for a nap as soon as the food was on the table. I told Hubby to go ahead and eat but, like a gentleman, he waited until I came back (might I mention with a very awake Poni? Guess she changed her mind, little rascal). Hubby took two bites of the roast (but spit one back out). I also managed two bites. Then we both just looked at each other and stopped attempting to eat the inedible slabs of meat on our plates. Instead we discussed how to “fix” the roast while we ate our mashed potatoes and yorkshire pudding.
Cherry on top, anyone? For Hubby’s birthday I had gotten him a giant glass jar with a spout on the bottom. We had been looking for one for quite a while. So Hubby put the jar on the woodstove (no, that’s not the punchline; it wasn’t lit) and apparently turned the spout on to fill his cup then WALKED AWAY. Who does that??! So yeah, there was a river of lemonade going down our woodstove, underneath the hearthstone it sits on, and across the living room floor. And now, a couple hours later after lighting the woodstove we are enjoying a rather disgusting burning smell.
Going into this meal, I had zero doubts that I would pull off an amazing spread. I have a knack for just being able to, you know, do things. This wasn’t even a new thing! I made a roast beef supper once before and it worked perfectly that time! Maybe it had been beginner’s luck?
Coming out of this experience I can see that I have definitely descended the leaderboard a couple pegs. And I have a new appreciation for what it feels like to fail at something that I have no reason for having failed. I still feel baffled how it happened. But it was certainly my fault; no one is disputing that.
It sucks. I’m very disappointed. Not in myself though. Even though I failed this time, I know that I can succeed. Tonight just wasn’t the night. I can’t say I learned much from the experience. Except that we all get humbled when we least expect it. And that’s a lesson well-learned.