Winter has settled in and I find I spend a bit more time bundled up at home than at other times of the year. Cozying up with a good book and blanket with a fire going are a few of my favourite things. Add in some comfort food and I’m in heaven. Is there anything better than roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy to conjure up those warm and fuzzy memories of a down-home family dinner?
The downside to beef is in recent years it has become a pricey investment! Never before has choosing the type of beef been so important. There are just as many cuts as there are price points. The type of beef you purchase will determine the way you need to prepare it.
A tenderloin, is the most expensive roast you can buy. In my house this cut of beef is absolutely saved for special occasions. Because it lacks fat it should be roasted quickly so that it doesn't become tough and chewy. A blade roast, which is much more affordable, has both fat and connective tissue and should be cooked low and slow in order to be both flavourful and tender. My favourite is a top sirloin roast. It has great flavour and tenderness but doesn’t break the bank. And there is usually plenty leftover to get together a quick supper during the week.
One of the problems with the big Sunday night dinner is what to do with those leftovers? Hot roast beef sandwiches are a bit ho-hum and are reminiscent of 1975. So, here are a couple ideas to upgrade roast beef leftovers.
Beef sliders, panini's & wraps make for quick and easy lunches or a week night supper. Pair them with potato wedges, sweet potato fries or some cut up raw vegetables. One of the great things about sliders & panini’s is they are delicious on any bun that you love. The condiments and toppings are limited only by your imagination. Carmelized onions pair well with mayonnaise that has been mixed with a bit of dijon mustard to give a nice kick. This combo is one of my most loved. If you’re dreaming about a wrap, try adding roasted red peppers or an avacado - goat cheese spread. And of course every sandwich goes better with cheese. Any cheese!
Beef pot pies on the surface might appear daunting but there are a couple of tricks to make them easier. You don't need to make the crust. Store bought pastry works just fine Why not try puff pastry which is great alternative to the traditional topping. One of the bonuses with pot pies is they freeze really well and you can pop them in the oven straight from the freezer. There really isn't anything much better than a pot pie on a cold winter night.
When making pot pies, shop your refrigerator so that you can use up those bits and pieces of vegetables you already have on hand. A couple of carrots, half a butternut squash, a few mushrooms are all great choices. It can save on the grocery bill while minimizing the food that gets thrown in the green bin. Keep in mind to use vegetables that don't disintegrate when cooked. A starchy potato (russet) is a better choice than a waxy potato (fingerling).
Any recipe that calls for steak, which after all is beef, you can substitute leftover roast beef. It speeds
up both the prep and cook time. For beef fajita’s saute´ some onions and peppers, add the beef at the end just to warm it through and you have dinner on the table in under 20 minutes!
Here’s a beef pot pie that I made recently.
Beef Pot Pie
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6 (9x13 casserole dish)
Preheat oven to 350°F (Heat a rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp olive oil in the oven as it warms up)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup butternut squash, diced
1 cup sweet potato, diced
1/2 cup russet potato, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups roast beef, cubed
2 cups gravy
1 egg wash (whisk 1 egg with 1 tbsp water)
1 pie dough or puff pastry
Combine all ingredients and toss onto hot baking sheet and roast until fork tender, turning every 10 minutes, for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
In a casserole dish combine cooled vegetables, roast beef and gravy. Roll out either pie dough or puff pastry and place on top of the mixture. Brush with the egg wash. Be sure to slice a couple vents in the dough. Bake uncovered until golden brown about 30 minutes.
This is a versatile recipe and the vegetables can be changed based on what you have in your pantry and fridge. (mushrooms, corn, yellow peppers)
Trish is the top spoon at