If you want to learn how to prepare a small rare roast beef (1 lb), you’re in the right place! I can promise you tender slices of meat that will melt in the mouth. The beef is first seared in a hot frying pan for maximum flavor before being stuffed with garlic and covered in (a lot of) butter. Don’t worry, the garlic won’t overpower the meat, but it does complement it beautifully. And who can resist that classic sauce combining melted butter and the meat’s cooking juice? It’s so indulgent!
Then, you’ll only have to place your small roast in the oven and check the temperature regularly to get it to your perfect spot. I really wish I could just extend my arm to the screen, take one slice of roast, cover it in sauce, sprinkle some sea salt flakes on it and devour it. Alas, I’ll just have to make a small roast again!
NOT SO COMPLICATED AFTER ALL
For a long time I was too afraid of cooking my own roast so I would only eat roast beef while visiting my parents. Learning how to make my own roast beef, and a small one for that matter, since I’m only cooking for 2, seemed like a Dantean task. After all, a roast is a proper grown-up meal (says the 26 years old). Roast beef is a traditional dish that can be served as the pièce de résistance for the Sunday lunch in France, where the whole family gathers and the meal lasts for 2 hours minimum.
The cut can be expensive and I was so afraid of completely ruining it and ending up with overcooked tough meat. Growing up, I could always notice that my dad was getting tense while deciding if it was the right time or not to take his roast out of the oven. Stepping into the kitchen while my dad was pondering and getting stressed out was pretty much suicidal so roast beef remained shrouded in mystery. Until I actually asked for his recipe 2 weeks ago and realized how easy it actually is, especially if you have a digital thermometer at your disposal! Trust me, if I mastered the art of cooking rare roast beef, so can you!
Every time we visit my parents, my husband will ask for a roast with fries on the side. The truth is he doesn’t even need to ask, my dad always has a bag of potatoes and a prime rib or an eye round roast ready for him. My dad serves his roast with garlic-herb butter and a sauce similar to mine made with the meat’s cooking juice. He calls it his cholesterol sauce.
A DIGITAL THERMOMETER IS A MUST
I would highly encourage you to use a thermometer for this recipe! It takes away all the stress as you don’t have to guess anything. The thermometer will show you precisely when is your small roast ready. You’ll be so much more at ease! You don’t need any fancy equipment like an oven-going meat thermometer. I’ve been using a basic digital thermometer bought at my local supermarket with great results. It only takes 10 seconds to register the correct temperature!
Cuts of beef are cut at different angles according to different countries. You won’t find the same cuts of beef in the US or in France so the information about cooking times in the recipe is provided as a guide. What matters is the internal temperature of the meat, this will tell you how done your meat is. The cooking time will also vary according to the thickness of your roast. Mine was a small roast beef, about 3cm (1 ⅕ in) high and 6cm (2 ⅓ in) wide. If you have a bigger cut that weighs more than 450g (1 lb) you’ll need to adjust the cooking time and cook your roast longer to get to the internal temperature you are looking for.
ROAST BEEF DONENESS INTERNAL TEMPERATURES
As you can see from the photos, I prefer my meat more on the rare side, as a lot of French people do. I’m not a big meat eater, but it’s not because I don’t enjoy the taste or because I’m disgusted by the blood, I just usually find meat to be too dry (don’t get me started on chicken breasts). So making a rare roast beef is the way to go for me because the slices are super tender! But I understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, there is no way I could have served this to any of my friends when I was living in Turkey or the Caribbean!
So as a reminder, the internal temperature at the center of your roast needs to reach;
- 50°C to 55°C (122°F to 131°F) for rare roast beef,
- 60°C (140°F) for medium-rare roast beef,
- 68°C (155°F) for a well done roast beef.
MILDER GARLIC FLAVOR
If you’re not a big fan of garlic, and you want its taste to become milder, don’t insert the garlic slices in the beef. Simply peel the garlic cloves, and press down the blades of a flat knife on the cloves to crush them. Then place the smashed garlic cloves around the roast and discard them after cooking.
Are you looking for other French dishes you could serve for lunch or dinner? Here are some of my favorites:
- Stuffed vegetables (Farcies)
- Pistou soup (Summer soup from Provence)
- Zucchini gratin (Tian)
Rare roast beef
- Prep Time: 27 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: French
Cooking a rare roast beef is much easier than you might think! Tender slices of meat that will melt in the mouth, flavored with just enough garlic and butter, make for a memorable weekend roast.
- 450g roast* (1 lb)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 30g butter (2 tbsp)
- 3 bay leaves or sprigs of thyme
- An hour before cooking, remove the beef from the fridge to bring it to room temperature. Coat the beef thoroughly in the oil and season it on all sides. Keep it covered.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (355 °F).
- Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat until hot. To check if it’s at the right temperature, drop a little bit of water in the pan, the droplets should remain intact and slightly bounce around the pan. Wipe the frying pan clean of water.
- Sear the beef all over until it has a nice brown color and a crust starts to form, about 1 min to 1 min 30 per side. Remove the beef to a small casserole dish.
- Cut each clove into 3 small slices using a sharp knife. Then pierce the beef in 6 different places, about 1cm (⅓ in) deep and insert the garlic slices, pushing them almost all the way in.
- Add knobs of butter all over the beef and put the herbs around it.
- Cook in the oven for 10 min then remove and insert a digital thermometer into the center of the meat to check the temperature. Keep on cooking the beef in 2 min slots, taking the roast out of the oven and checking its temperature until the thermometer reads your desired temperature. **
- Guideline; the thermometer should read 50°C to 55 °C (122°F to 131°F) for rare, 60°C (140°F) for medium-rare, 68°C (155°F) for well done. If you don’t have a thermometer, know that a rare roast will be soft to the touch, whereas it will resist being pressed with your finger if it’s well done.
- Remove the beef to a cutting board (don’t discard its cooking juice), cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 5 to 7 min. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and be reabsorbed, resulting in far more tender and juicy slices of meat.
- Discard the herbs and pour the cooking juices and melted butter into a small jug. Slice the rare roast beef after it rested and serve along with the sauce.
* You can use a small cut of bottom round roast, eye round roast, top round roast, or boneless rump roast.
** I cooked the beef for 14 min in the oven to get it as seen in the photos (rare).
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container placed in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 5 slices
- Calories: 508
- Fat: 34.1g
Keywords: small roast beef, french roast beef, rare meat, sunday lunch
I will be trying this today for a birthday celebration.
I hope it will turn out just how you like it (and that you’ll have a lovely day)!