There are times when you have no idea to cook. You go through your collection of cookbooks (in my case, several dozen books) without coming across even the slightest inspiration. You curse your collection, wonder why you spent so much money on all the wrong books and turn to the internet with even less success. Without even a primary ingredient in your mind, the magic of the internet is virtually useless. You start searching “easy weekday meal” or “healthy dinner for two” but the thousands of results produced by Google only cripple you. You’ve wasted precious time, probably sacrificing your lunch hour or even worse, that time you needed to finish that time sensitive work project. You go back to your hectic life, defeated, and end up ordering pizza for dinner. Again.
And then there are those times when you aren’t even thinking about cooking or what your next meal will be, and a recipe seemingly jumps out, attacking you. “Make me! Pick me!”, it says. And that’s pretty much how I ended up eating steak with chocolate (really, could there be a better meal?) and a sprinkle of rosemary.
I’m hosting dinner for my mom’s birthday in a few weeks. Yes, a few weeks, but I’ve already started stressing about menus. It’s a good stress of course, trying to narrow down what protein will be the feature dish, and what supporting cast members will best support and elevate its beauty. Menu building usually means I break out all the cookbooks. I start with a few favorites, generally seasonally driven first, then classics with recipes that always work out perfect, and finally, the other two dozen, in no particular order. After settling on a few dishes, the process of returning everything to its proper place began. While cleaning, Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave popped open to her Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary and Chocolate recipe. I was transfixed on the photo of perfectly cooked sliced of roast beef next to a puddle of rich chocolately sauce. How had I never seen this recipe before? There was no argument. The next night’s dinner would be that meal.
I made a few adjustments, mostly to the meat. I didn’t have a tenderloin roast handy and wasn’t about to go out and buy one with several other roasts from our quarter cow purchase already stocked in the freezer. I opted for a sirloin tip instead. The results were good, though I’m sure nothing could compare to the buttery beef of a tenderloin. I love that the roast only needed half hour to cook. Add the prep and searing time and it was still an easy weekday meal. Dinner was served simply, with rosemary smashed potatoes and a tossed salad.
Chocolate Rosemary Sirloin Roast (Adapted from The Food You Crave) Serves 4
- 2lb boneless sirloin tip roast
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 4 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 c dry red wine
- 2 c beef broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp dutch cocoa powder
- 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small dutch oven. Pat roast dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper, once oil is smoking (windows open, fan on!), sear roast on all sides until well browned, about 10 minutes total.
Transfer meat to a rack set in a baking sheet. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest point reads 140°F for medium rare, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil and let rest until sauce is nearly done.
While meat cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add shallots, carrot and celery, cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add wine, broth and tomato paste, stirring well. Add bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a small pot. Whisk in cocoa powder and rosemary. Slice roast and serve with rosemary chocolate sauce.