Roast beef is a magnificent feast of a meal. It always seems very special, mostly because I cook it only when at my parents as it hardly seemed worth the effort and expense for just the two of us. When Hungry Hubby and I needed a beef fix, I cook one large ribeye steak and cut into thin rags to share between us.
Well, I did do. Before I discovered this incredible piece of culinary magic that is my Instant Pot 4-Minute Beef!
This is such a splendid way to cook a joint of beef, I can’t imagine I will ever go back to attempting to get it right in the oven. Thanks to the magic marinade which helps to break down this relatively tough and certainly very lean cut of beef (topside in the UK, round in the US) before it even hits the heat for a brief sear and an even briefer pressure cook, you are practically guaranteed a succulent and tender piece of beef to preside over your Sunday lunch table.
What you can’t see clearly as it’s an unappetising colour, is the gravy that you make with the juices from the beef and the flavourings you add into the marinade.
My secret ingredient in a good gravy is to purée the onions that you use to sit the meat on as it cooks. It gives a silky unctuousness and helps thicken it up without the need for much cornflour.
If there are just two of you eating, I still encourage you to use the same amount of topside and even make the full amount of gravy – the beef is divine sliced cold into sandwiches or salads and the gravy can be frozen. That is if you aren’t married to a gravy guzzling monster 😉
A couple of serving suggestions for those of you like Hungry Hubby who isn’t a big fan of Yorkshire puddings (I know, don’t start…) – try my method for perfect roast potatoes, maple glazed carrots and parsnips, plus a big bowl of buttered marrowfat peas. A jar of mustard on the side won’t go amiss either:
Make the very best of an affordable cut of beef with a magic marinade and a few minutes of cooking time in the Instant Pot!
- 1-1.5 kg topside of beef (I believe the equivalent is the "round" cut in the US)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tsp green peppercorns (they are softer than black peppercorns)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 beef stock cube (I love Kallo ones as the salt is low but the flavour very good)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
Put the beef in a large food bag with all the marinade ingredients. Give it a good massage and pop in the fridge for 24 hours. If you can, give it another massage every now and again to distribute the ingredients.
Bring the beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to take the chill off it and when ready, put the Instant Pot onto Sauté and sear the beef all over. Reserve the marinade in its bag for now. Take your time with this step and get a good char before turning.
Tip the marinade ingredients into the pot and set the seared beef on the onions so that it is raised up a little off the base. Crumble the stock cube into the water. Pour in enough water to come just to the bottom of the beef, put the lid on and set to Manual High for 4 minutes* (make sure the vent is closed).
When the 4 minutes are up, don't touch the pot and instead leave it on Keep Warm for one hour for a perfectly cooked medium-rare topside of beef.
When the hour is up, remove the beef to a serving plate and cover with foil.
Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs then turn the pot onto Sauté once more. Use a stick blender to purée the onions and garlic and make a smooth gravy.
Whisk in the mustard powder. Slake the cornflour in a little cold water then whisk in enough of this mixture for the gravy to thicken to your desired consistency. Add boiling water if it becomes too thick and taste for seasoning before serving.
When ready to serve, slice the beef very thinly with a nice sharp knife. YOu may have more gravy than you need so freeze any leftovers for another day.
*= if your joint is much smaller, larger or you like your beef cooked more, then you will need to alter the cooking time.
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