Roast Beef for Solo Suppers?

5 Nov

This week in my hometown most of the grocery stores are featuring sirloin tip oven roasts ‘on sale’ for $ 3.99/lb (8.80/kg). This cut of beef is quite lean, with the folks at telling us that a 3 ounce serving of sirloin tip roast posts 5.8 grams of total fat (2.1g of saturated fat). That’s more than a serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast (3.0 g total /0.9g saturated fat) but less than a skinless chicken thigh (9.2g total/2.6 saturated fat). When you think about the many ways you ‘tart-up’ chicken breasts to give them flavour, a meal of beef may give you full taste for fewer calories.

Sirloin Tip Beef Roast — prior to ‘resting’

A cut of sirloin tip beef is most tender and flavourful when roasted to a maximum of medium and then thinly sliced for serving. It is also a great cut of beef for single folks, if you can buy (or have your butcher cut) a 2 to 2 ½ [910 grams – 1.2 kg] pound roast. From a 2 ½ pound roast, I enjoy 2 hot meals as well as several slices for sandwiches or salads in the coming week. This leaves about ½ or 1/3 of the roast to freeze, not sliced, for future use in two more meals such as stir-fries, fajitas, etc.. At this week’s sale price that’s a cost of  $1.60 per meal.

The inspirational recipe for my Piquant Dijon – Herb Crusted Sirloin Tip Beef Roast with Easy ‘Au Jus’ (a big name for a small roast) starts by suggesting that you leave the roast in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days (I had that instruction covered before I found the recipe). Let the roast sit for an hour on the counter while you prepare the vegetables you plan to serve with the roast.

Searing salt and pepper seasoned roast in sizzling EVOO

Rinse the meat under cold running water and pat dry with paper towelling. Season all surfaces of the roast with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to your taste. Use a heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably NOT non-stick) or a stove-top safe roasting pan that will contain the size of your roast. Pour enough extra-virgin olive oil into the pan to cover the bottom. Set the pan on a burner set to Med-High and let the oil heat for 4 minutes.

To maximize the flavour of this type of roast sear all the surfaces of the meat with high heat over a burner or in the oven. Sealing the exterior surface of the roast keeps more of the beef juices inside where you get to enjoy them later.

This recipe calls for skillet searing in hot oil, so arm yourself with a long-sleeved top and a pair of really good oven mitts. Fail to heed this warning and the oil will fly and burn you when you set the roast into the skillet. I used a large wooden spoon and stiff egg lifter to manipulate the roast so all sides of the roast become nicely browned. This should take between 6 – 8 minutes. Remove the browned roast to a rack in an oven roast pan.

Searing browns the exterior and seals the meat.

Pour the fat and oil from the searing skillet into a heat-proof container for use later in preparing the ‘au jus’. Set your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325°F /163°C.

Pour just enough water overtop of the roast to cover the bottom of the roasting pan. And then follow with ½ cup/125 mL (or more) of dry red wine over the roast.

The recipe I used for guidance called for a number of herbs and seasonings I did not have on hand, so I substituted to create my own herb mix. I use a small ramekin to create solo-sized sauces, bastes or flavouring combinations. The beauty of something like an herb crust is you may use whatever you like in the proportions you like them. I eye-ball the quantities I prepared by the size of the roast and the degree of crust I wanted to enjoy. (See below for my herb combo.) Use a fork to stir the herbs together.

Create slits in meat and stuff each with a slice of garlic clove.

With a long, sharp knife slice 3 – 4 peeled garlic cloves into 2 or 3 slices each. Then create slits evenly throughout the top of the roast and stuff each one with a slice of garlic. Once the slits and garlic were in place, I splashed a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce on the surfaces of the roast.

Using a knife or a pâté spreader, spread a generous layer of Dijon mustard all over the roast. With your fingers, sprinkle the herb mixture over the meat so it adheres to the Dijon.

Brush with Dijon Mustard and sprinkle with herb mix to coat

Roast in 325°F/163°C oven for at least 75 minutes and up to 1 hour and 45 minutes depending upon the size of your roast. The best way to judge the readiness of your roast to leave the oven is to rely upon a digital instant-read thermometer. Insert it into the thickest past of the roast. If you’re cooking something with bones in it, stay away from them because they will be hotter than the flesh you’re trying to cook.

If you want your roast cooked to medium-rare, remove it from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 145° F/63° C. For a medium roast, aim for a temperature of 153° F/67° C. Remove the meat from the roast pan to a cutting board and tent it with foil. That term means allowing some room for air to escape, otherwise the roast will steam. And trust me, if you’ve ever eaten hospital food you DO NOT want a steamed roast.

Create an easy ‘au jus’ from rendered fat and pan drippings

The purpose of a ‘rest’ is to allow the juices inside the roast (or steak) to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring each slice is as delicious as the others. For a 2 ½ pound roast, let it rest 25 – 20 minutes.

Pour the remaining roast pan juices (water, wine, Worcestershire sauce and roast drippings) into the heat-proof container containing the rendered fat from the searing step.    Stir together and heat to boiling. Transfer the au jus to a small pitcher or gravy boat and serve with your roast.

Thinly slice beef for serving after resting.

Use the resting period to finish cooking your vegetables, mash the potatoes and toss the salad. Carve your beef into thin slices. Sharing your roast beef dinner with a friend will multiply your pride and earn you a super star in the savvy kitchen.
Piquant Dijon – Herb Crusted Sirloin Tip Beef Roast with Easy ‘Au Jus’


2 – 2 ½lb/910 grams – 1.2 kg         sirloin tip beef roast
3 – 4                                                    cloves garlic
ground black pepper
Sea salt
100% extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup                                                 red wine
1 cup                                                     water
Dijon mustard
2 – 3 tablespoons/30 – 45 mL          Worcestershire sauce

Here’s an approximation of the quantities used in the herb coating. Mix together:
lots of black pepper,
a generous pinch of sea salt,
a good dousing of garlic powder (and then some more for good measure),
a couple of dashes of dry onion flakes,
1 teaspoon/5 mL of dried basil,
½ teaspoon/2.5 mL of crumbled dry rosemary,
1/4 teaspoon/1.25 mL of fennel seeds,
1/8 teaspoon/0.55 mL of anise.

Savvy Single Sirloin Tip Roast Beef supper


8 Responses to “Roast Beef for Solo Suppers?”

  1. Debby Simpson November 5, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    This looks really good and I just happen to have already bought one of those small roasts that are on sale….thanks

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers November 5, 2012 at 12:35 am #

      Terrific news, Debby. The instructions make it look more complicated a recipe than it really is. Quite a tasty, tangy roast. Let me know how yours turns out!

      • Debby Simpson November 7, 2012 at 11:56 am #

        The roast was wonderful, so tasty. I used a lot of local, spicy garlic and substituted cumin seed for the fennel seed (cumin is a favourite in our house). I’m also feeding a young man so not too much in the left-overs department, another testimony to the tastiness of this roast. I served it with roasted brussel sprouts, potatoes, parsnips and carrots. Thank you Susan.

      • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers November 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

        Delighted the recipe was a success for you Debby. And so well received by the young man in your household!
        A roast is a bit of a blank canvas for folks to experiment with different herbs and spices to suit their tastes. One thing to keep in mind is not all herbs and spices do well in oven heat. It can depend upon their form — fresh, ground, seeds, etc. — the extent of the heat and the length of time in the oven.

        Thanks for taking time to share your feedback with the rest of us!

  2. Debby Simpson November 8, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    That’s good to know about the herbs and spices. Which ones are not suitable for oven heat?

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers November 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Even when cooking on a stove-top if your recipe calls for fresh herbs, it’s recommended to add them toward the end of the cooking time. Otherwise they can turn bitter or lose the intentsity of their flavour. The more tender the herb (think dill, chives, Italian parsley, etc.) the less heat. While rosemary with it’s tougher, spiny leaves can hold up to more heat. [Same principle that gardeners learn with thin leaves/succulent leaves and the amount of heat they tolerate and water they require.]


  1. Menu Planning — Week of January 27, 2013 « Savvy Single Suppers - January 27, 2013

    […] taking inventory of the freezer last week, I’d found half of the roast I made in November (Piquant Dijon – Herb Crusted Sirloin Tip Beef Roast). I’d cooked it rare, so instead of buying a pound of fast-fry beef strips for the […]

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