I like steaks and roasts; we do not have either of these in Vietnamese culture. The closest thing to steaks is a nice succulent and crispy pork chop grilled over a bed of smoldering charcoal in a clay hibachi that you can find on any given street in Vietnam. Buffalo and cattle are incredibly treasured commodities in Vietnam because they are seen more as farm tools rather than food on the table. And so, growing up, having steak and roasts never occurred in my household; it wasn’t until I purchased my first prime rib roast when I was in University that my family really got a chance to experience what one would consider a typical roast meal.
What makes a good roast? I think a roast that has a nice healthy dosage of marbling of fat is a great contender for a roast. I’ve had cross rib roasts, prime rib roasts and blade roasts and have to say that the prime rib and the blade roasts are my favourite due to the succulent and moist nature of the meat after cooking. I like cross rib roasts only because they have a great mixture of fat and tendons and that makes for a chewier cut of meat.
Tonight for dinner, I am cooking a blade roast using quite a simple recipe I gleaned from Chef Michael Smith from the FoodNetwork which I have adapted for any type of roast, I am accompanying it with some blanched carrots and my roast potatoes recipe.
The Roast Recipe
3.5 lbs of Blade Roast
Salt & Pepper
2 Russet Potatoes (or you can use whichever type of potatoes, I am using what I got)
Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
2. Make sure the roast is at room temperature and rub the roast liberally with the salt and pepper.
3. Lay the roast on a rack in a baking pan. (Note: If you don’t have a baking rack, I typically roll a bunch aluminum foil and make a ad hoc rack to lay whatever I am roasting upon it) Place the roast into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
4. Without opening the oven turn the heat down to 300 degrees and continue roasting for 15-20 minutes per pound until a meat thermometer registers 120 degrees in the thickest part of the meat, at least an hour more.
5. Remove from the oven and pan then place on a cooling rack. Cover with several layers of aluminum foil. The meat will rest and relax and as it does its temperature will rise a bit more to a perfect medium rare.
6. After at least 20 minutes you may begin carving.
1. Rinse the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into wedges (this shape seems to work the best, I’ve tried making chips but they don’t turn out quite well) and place the wedges into a mixing bowl.
2. Liberally sprinkle about 3-4 tablespoons of salt over top the potatoes and mix with a mixing spoon. Add a bit of vegetable oil into the mix.
3. Wait for about 1 hour to allow the moisture and starch to be drawn out from the potatoes (this is the secret to having crispy potato wedges!).
4. After 1 hour, rinse the potatoes and pat dry, place onto a baking sheet that is lined either with parchment paper or aluminum foil and roast the potato wedges at 425°F for about 30-40 minutes depending how thick you’ve cut the wedges (check the oven often if you are unsure).
5. Once the wedges have browned and are crispy, remove from the oven and place the wedges into a mixing bowl and sprinkle a bit of salt and cayenne pepper or paprika onto the wedges and mix. Once you have added the seasoning to the wedges, remove from the mixing bowl and plate the wedges; you can serve it hot or at room temperature, depending on how hot you like your potato wedges!
Note: I ended up not adding cayenne pepper or paprika to my roasted potatoes. Instead, I used salsa as a condiment with the roasted potatoes as WOW… it was delicious! I would highly recommend it!