Top round roast is beef that comes from the large, lean muscle of the hind quarter of a steer. Top round is not as tender as standing rib or tenderloin, and because it is less tender it is also less expensive per pound. Cooked properly top round is delicious and economical. Leftover top round is the starting point for other tasty dishes. Leftover cooked top round freezes well for those days when time is short and people are hungry.
How can I cook top round so that it is not tough and chewy?
The secret to tender, moist top round roast is to cook it slowly in a small amount of liquid.
Spray the bottom of a pan that has a tight lid with vegetable spray. Add two tablespoons of oil.
Season the roast and brown the top round, on all sides, over moderately high heat.
Add the braising liquid to the meat in the pan. You will need one fourth of a cup of liquid for a four pound roast. Use beef broth, leftover wine, dark beer or water.
Choose from A, B or C below for the cooking method. Each method results in a tender, savory, top round roast.
A) Turn the heat up under the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with the tight fitting lid, and let the roast simmer for two to two and half hours. Cooking time depends on the size of the roast. It is said that the bigger the roast the better the flavor. Check the roast often to be sure the liquid hasn’t cooked away. Add more liquid, a tablespoon or two at a time, if needed.
B) Preheat the oven to 350˚ while you’re browning the roast. Cover with the lid, or top the pan securely with aluminum foil. Shield the pan’s handles with aluminum foil if they are not oven proof. Bake the roast for two to two and half hours, or until the meat is tender.
C) This is, perhaps, the easiest of the three methods. Place three or four beef bouillon cubes into the bottom of a slow cooker. Put the top round roast on top of the bouillon cubes. Do not add braising liquid. Set the crock pot on low for six to eight hours and slow cook until the meat is fork tender. The roast cooks in its own natural juices leaving behind tender meat and a savory au jus that is especially good over mashed potatoes.
Two reputable web sites offer additional ways to prepare top round.
www.cooks.com has a unique recipe for German Goulash.
www.foodnetwork.com features a recipe for roast top round with Yorkshire pudding that could be perfect for a special occasion.
What can I do with leftovers?
Top round roast leftovers make tasty, quick, inexpensive meals.
Warm slices of the beef in gravy, jarred or homemade, and serve over toast, mashed potatoes or on top of French fries. Make a salad, warm some green beans and your meal is complete.
Make hash. Fry diced potatoes and onions in a large skillet. Add a diced carrot or a diced red or green pepper if you have some on hand. When the vegetables are tender stir in diced roast. Moisten the contents of the skillet with beef gravy and heat through. Season to taste.
Add diced leftover beef to store-bought or homemade vegetable soup.
Marginally tender cuts of beef are delicious when cooked properly. Cuts like top round roast will also help to stretch your family’s food budget.