Food

Some Unexpected Easter Masterpieces

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With Easter approaching, home cooks everywhere are planning to host dinner for their families. Celebrate the holiday with some unexpected recipes from Cook’s Country that break away from traditional Easter dinners:

  • Bottom Round Roast Beef – While most people think this inexpensive cut of beef is not good for roasting, test kitchen chefs perfected a method that’s just right.
  • Derby Biscuits – Step up your appetizer game by adding a twist to traditional beaten biscuits that date back to the 19th century.  Their bite-size shape allows them to be split open and layered with country ham, red pepper jelly and beer cheese.
  • Bananas Foster – The chefs at Cook’s Country developed a quick and easy recipe for this classic New Orleans dish by removing the flambé step.

The culinary experts at Cook’s Country are on a never-ending quest to reclaim, revive and restore classic recipes meant to be shared with family and friends.


Bottom Round Roast Beef from the April/May 2016 issue of Cook’s Country magazine

SFS_Bottom_Round_Roast-11Why This Recipe Works: For an inexpensive slow-roasted beef recipe, we transformed a bargain cut into a tender, juicy roast by salting the meat and letting it sit for at least 1 hour (it can sit for up to 24 hours if needed) before roasting it slowly (for 2 hours) in a low oven (250 degrees). This slow-and-low combo allowed the meat’s enzymes to act as natural tenderizers, breaking down its tough connective tissue. Bringing the roast to just medium (135 degrees) also ensured that it would be easy to slice thin. To round out the flavor of the roast, we served it with a Detroit favorite—Zip-Style Sauce. A winning combination of butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, rosemary, and thyme, it’s very easy to make.

Serves 8

We recommend cooking this roast to medium for ease of slicing. Open the oven door as little as possible, and remove the roast from the oven when taking its temperature to prevent dropping the oven temperature too drastically. Because the sauce contains butter, it will solidify as it cools, so it’s best kept warm for serving.

Beef

1(4-pound) boneless beef bottom round roast, trimmed

Kosher salt and pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Zip-Style Sauce

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

  1. FOR THE BEEF:Pat roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 2 ­teaspoons salt. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Combine rosemary, thyme, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl.
  3. Pat roast dry with paper towels. Brush roast all over with oil and sprinkle with herb mixture; place on prepared wire rack. Transfer to oven and cook until meat registers 120 degrees, 1 3/4 hours to 2 1/4 hours. Turn off oven and leave roast in oven, without opening door, until meat registers 135 degrees (for medium), 20 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer roast to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. FOR THE ZIP-STYLE SAUCE:Meanwhile, bring butter, Worcestershire, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to bare simmer in small saucepan over medium heat, whisking ­constantly. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
  5. Slice roast thin against grain and serve with sauce.

 

Derby Biscuits from the April/May 2016 issue of Cook’s Country magazine

SFS_Derby_Biscuits-13Why This Recipe Works: Recipes for beaten biscuits date back to a time before leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda were commercially available and call for the baker to beat the dough to both trap air and develop gluten. Modern recipes for these biscuits are much less of a cardiovascular workout, relying on a stand mixer or food processor to make the dough. In addition, to achieve the flaky texture of a biscuit combined with the crunch of a cracker, we embrace modernity and use a small amount of baking powder: only 2 teaspoons for 2½ cups of flour. Pulsing in 8 tablespoons of cold butter in the food processor keeps the biscuits pleasantly tender without getting too crumbly. Just a little sugar enhances their flavor and makes their exteriors of our biscuits nicely crisp. In addition, the bite-size shape of our “Derby” biscuits makes them perfectly suited to splitting open and layering with country ham, beer cheese, and red pepper jelly.

Makes about 28 biscuits

2 ½ cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

1 cup whole milk, chilled

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 pulses. Add butter and pulse until reduced to pea-size pieces, 10 to 12 pulses.
  2. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add milk and stir with rubber spatula until shaggy dough forms. Turn out dough onto heavily floured counter and knead until dough comes together fully and feels smooth, with few small butter flecks still visible, 8 to 10 turns.
  3. Roll dough into 11-inch circle about ½ inch thick. Using 2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut 22 to 23 rounds from dough. Reroll scraps once to similar thickness and cut out 5 to 6 more rounds to yield 28 biscuits. Space biscuits evenly on prepared baking sheet (7 rows of 4). Prick each biscuit 3 times with tines of fork.
  4. Bake until tops are light golden brown, 27 to 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let biscuits cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bananas Foster from the April/May 2016 issue of Cook’s Country magazine

SFS_Bananas_Foster-17Why This Recipe Works: This iconic New Orleans dessert is usually served flambéed at tableside. To adapt this recipe for the home cook, we inverted the usual order of steps and opted to skip the flambé. Most recipes start by first combining butter and sugar, sautéing the bananas, and finishing with the rum. We found that the sauce stayed smoother and creamier if we approached the dessert like a pan sauce: cooking the bananas in a mixture of sugar, rum, and other flavors and then whisking in butter at the end. We like the color and deep flavor of dark brown sugar in this recipe, and while any rum will do, our tasters preferred the caramel notes of gold rum.

Serves 4

Look for yellow bananas with very few spots; overly ripe bananas will fall apart during cooking. We prefer the flavor of gold rum, but you can substitute white or dark rum if desired.

½ cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) dark brown sugar

¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons gold rum

2 tablespoons water

1 cinnamon stick

¼ teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas, peeled, halved ­crosswise, then halved lengthwise

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Vanilla ice cream

  1. Combine sugar, 1/4 cup rum, water, cinnamon stick, and salt in 12-inch skillet. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add bananas, cut side down, to skillet and cook until glossy and golden on bottom, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Flip bananas and continue to cook until tender but not mushy, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Using tongs, transfer bananas to rimmed serving dish, leaving sauce in skillet.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and discard cinnamon stick. Whisk butter into sauce, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated. Whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 teaspoons rum. Pour sauce over bananas. Serve with vanilla ice cream.