Roast Beef for a Wedding Feast from Outlander
At the inn, food was readily available, in the form of a modest wedding feast, including wine, fresh bread, and roast beef.
Dougal took me by the arm as I started for the stairs to freshen myself before eating.
“I want this marriage consummated, wi’ no uncertainty whatsoever,” Dougal instructed me firmly in an undertone. “There’s to be no question of it bein’ a legal union, and no way open for annulment, or we’re all riskin’ our necks.”
“Seems to me you’re doing that anyway,” I remarked crossly. “Mine, especially.”
Dougal patted me firmly on the rump.
“Dinna ye worry about that; ye just do your part.” He looked me over critically, as though judging my capacity to perform my role adequately.
“I kent Jamie’s father. If the lad’s much like him, ye’ll have to trouble at all. Ah, Jamie lad!” He hurried across the room, to where Jamie had come in from stabling the horses. From the look on Jamie’s face, he was getting his orders as well.
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, Chapter 15
Just a little different than the wedding receptions I’ve been to! I’m more used to clinking cutlery on my glass, a cheesy toast from the Best Man, a couple of well-placed polkas and maybe even The Macarena if it’s an open bar.
The buffet is usually a little more generous as well.
But if you were hurled back 200 years in time, forced to marry a virtual stranger in someone else’s strong-smelling dress and then hurried through a ceremony complete with blood letting — all on no more than a couple of glasses of port for breakfast (poured on top of last night’s whisky dinner) — I’m willing to bet you’d accept roast beef, bread and wine with a little more grace than your average Bridezilla.
After all, the food is fuel for activities yet to come — any more than that would just weigh you down.
He studied his wineglass with some care. “Perhaps it’s just that I want to bed you.” He looked up abruptly. “Did ye think of that?”
If he meant to disconcert me, he was succeeding nicely, but I resolved not to show it.
“Well, do you?” I asked boldly.
“If I’m bein’ honest, yes, I do.” The blue eyes were steady over the rim of the glass.
“You wouldn’t necessarily have had to marry me for that,” I objected.
He appeared honestly scandalized. “You do not think I would take ye without offering you marriage!”
“Many men would,” I said, amused at his innocence.
He sputtered a bit, at a momentary loss. Then regaining his composure, said with formal dignity, “Perhaps I am pretentious in saying so, but I would like to think that I am not ‘many men,’ and that I dinna necessarily place my behavior at the lowest common denominator.”
Rather touched by this speech, I assured him that I had so far found his behavior both gallant and gentlemanly, and apologized for any doubt I might inadvertently have cast on his motives.
On this precariously diplomatic note, we paused while he refilled our empty glasses.
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, Chapter 15
Let’s take a pause in the action to talk a little more about the beef, shall we?
The one served to celebrate the marriage of Claire and James was probably roasted at the hearth over an open fire. And for sure it wasn’t the tenderloin.
Which is OK by me. I’m a big fan of the less-expensive cuts of meat. As long as you know how to cook the particular piece you have, you can turn almost any cut into a delicious, juicy and tender dinner.
The more that the muscle moves while the animal is alive, the more connective tissue the meat contains. Connective tissue will make meat tough unless you roast it low and slow to melt it away, which will leave you with fork-tender meat and gelatin-packed juices to make a rich accompanying sauce.
I chose a top or inside round (from the top of the hind leg) because it offers a good combination of superior flavour and value for money while being tender enough to dry roast in the oven.
Serve it with your favourite sides and gravy made from the juices. Or, go Full-On Outlander and bake a fresh loaf of bread and open bottle of red worthy of Colum’s cellars.
“Are you hungry?” I asked softly, sometime later.
“Famished. He bent his heat to bite my breast softly, then looked up with a grin. “But I need food too.” He rolled to the edge of the bed. “There’s cold beef and bread in the kitchen, I expect, and likely wine as well. I’ll go and bring us up some supper.”
“No, don’t you get up. I’ll fetch it.” I jumped off the bed and headed for the door, pulling a shawl over my shift against the chill of the corridor.
“Wait, Claire!” Jamie called. “Ye’d better let me –” but I had already opened the door.
My appearance at the door was greeted by a raucous cheer from some fifteen men, lounging around the fireplace of the main room below, drinking, eating and tossing dice. I stood nonplussed on the balcony for a moment, fifteen leering faces flickering out of the firelit shadows at me.
“Hey, lass!” shouted Rupert, one of the loungers. “Ye’re still able t’ walk! Isn’t Jamie doin’ his duty by ye, then?”
This sally was greeted with gales of laughter and a number of even cruder remarks regarding Jamie’s prowess.
“If ye’ve worn Jamie out a’ready, I’ll be happy t’ take ‘is place!” offered a short dark-haired youth.
“Nay, nay, ‘e’s no good, lass, take me!” shouted another.
“She’ll ha’ none o’ ye, lads!” yelled Murtagh, uproariously drunk. “After Jamie, she’ll need somethin’ like this to satisfy ‘er!” He waved a huge mutton bone overhead, causing the room to rock with laughter.
I whirled back into the room, slammed the door and stood with my back to it, glaring at Jamie, who lay naked on the bed, shaking with laughter.
“I tried to warn ye,” he said, gasping. “You should see your face!”
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
A top/inside-round roast is an economical, tasty and relatively tender cut that makes for a wonderful Sunday or special occasion dinner.
- Top or Inside Round Beef Roast – approx 3½ lbs
- Olive Oil – 1 Tble
- Garlic, minced/crushed – 6 cloves
- Kosher or Coarse Salt – 1½ tsp
- Fresh Rosemary, minced – 1 tsp
- Fresh Cracked Pepper – ½ tsp
Read the whole recipe through once before you begin.
Mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl, then smear the paste all over the roast, lightly rubbing it into the meat.
Set the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set aside for 60-90 minutes at room temperature to marinate and take the chill off the meat.
Move the rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°.
Roast the meat for 28-31 minutes/lb for medium rare, 30-34 for medium and 40-45 for well done. (Rare isn’t recommended for a top/inside round.)
Remove the roast from the oven, gently move to a plate and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. (Note: the temperature of the roast will increase 5-10° while resting.)
Slice and serve.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- No kosher salt? No worries! Substitute 1 teaspoon of table salt.
- If you have an instant read thermometer, use this chart to determine your desired level of doneness (med. rare, medium, well done)
- Use the pan juices to make gravy, or skim the surface of fat, strain, season and serve the jus alongside the roast.