Whose family had roast beef every Sunday for dinner?
We did. Only we had flaming roast beef. Yes, you read that correctly, flaming.
It all began one time after my parents went out to eat one weekend evening. Owning a bar and restaurant at the time, my Dad was always interested in what was new, and what was being served at various establishments, one of these latest of fascinations, roast beef doused with cognac, lit with a match, and set to diffuse. I can only imagine how this little show transformed the essence into being the talk of the town, likely better than even having a Caesar Salad prepared table-side, and at least equivalent to flaming bananas dolloped with whipped cream. The show was of most certain fascination and thrill to what was four children at the time.
How the flaming cognac enhanced the flavor of the roast beef, I do not know, but I can attest to a heightened flavor in my Mom’s gravy once this new little tradition was established. Owning a bar had its privileges, namely, pulling a bottle of cognac off the shelf readied for the light show spectacular just before Sunday dinner.
Never being much of a breakfast eater, the Monday morning leftovers of sliced medium rare roast beef on Jewish Rye was my only early morning meal that tided me into the following week. As the years went on some other dishes were introduced to the Sunday meal, and even more years down the road my Mom seemed to have lost her touch on the roast beef, that is, once rejoined to the table began to always cook the heck out of every roast beef causing them to be so dry it kind of became a family joke. But I still remember the days of that special weekly roast, cooked medium rare, flamed with cognac, quickly diffused, moments later drizzling on the homemade gravy with heightened flavor, and fond memories long past of Roast Beef, Old Fashioned Sunday Dinner Style.
- 3 1/2 pound beef roast
- coarse kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Sprinkle roast with coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper all over and set into a roasting pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, place roast into oven and cook 20-25 minutes per pound for medium rare. Remember roast will continue cooking after removed from the oven. Transfer roast to a platter, tent with aluminum foil and let roast sit for at least ten minutes before slicing. Add any collected juices from setting time into the gravy pan for final heating.