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A well-composed marinade transforms a tough cut of beef into a succulent roast
Milk Street Bowtie Prune, Peppercorn and Fresh Herb-Rubbed Roast Beef

Prune, Peppercorn and Fresh Herb-Rubbed Roast Beef

2 hrs 45 min plus 48 hrs to marinate

Free

No matter what it costs, a holiday roast should taste decadent. So we challenged ourselves to transform a thrifty, low-cost cut into a lush, celebratory meal. The answer was eye round, a roast often deemed too lean to be tender. The cut is taken from the hind leg of a steer, so there’s little marbling, the usual key to keeping meat moist. To roast this tough cut and get succulent, perfectly cooked results, we marinated the meat in ingredients that would do the work for us. We started with a sticky, sweet puree of prunes. That may sound unusual, but prunes are high in hygroscopic sorbitol and fructose, which—along with salt and soy sauce—amplify the way the meat absorbs flavor. The puree also adhered well to the roast, promoting moisture retention and a caramelized crust. Ketchup and anchovies added rich umami, while rosemary, thyme and black peppercorns provided a familiar holiday backdrop. To boost the marinade’s effect, we poked the roast repeatedly with a fork. And trimming the silver skin and fat from the roast also helped keep it tender. The roast beef tasted best after marinating for 48 hours, but 24 will work, too. Thinly sliced and served with a fresh horseradish sauce, the eye round was as toothsome as beef tenderloin, without the expense.

8 ounces pitted prunes (about 1½ cups)
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3 anchovy fillets
1 five- to six-pound beef eye round roast, trimmed
Fresh horseradish sauce, to serve (optional)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup freshly grated horseradish root (3-inch piece)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients
  • 8

    ounces pitted prunes (about 1½ cups)

  • ½

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup ketchup

  • 3

    tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2

    tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 2

    tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 2

    tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 3

    anchovy fillets

  • 1

    five- to six-pound beef eye round roast, trimmed

  • Fresh horseradish sauce, to serve (optional)

For the horseradish sauce
  • 1

    cup sour cream

  • ½

    cup freshly grated horseradish root (3-inch piece)

  • 2

    tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1

    tablespoon water

  • 2

    teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt

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Prune, Peppercorn and Fresh Herb-Rubbed Roast Beef

Get Ready to Cook

10

Servings

2 hrs 45 min

plus 48 hrs to marinate

Tip

Don’t check the roast too frequently. A succulent roast relied on even cooking at a low temperature; opening the oven door interrupted that process. Instead, use an oven-safe thermometer to monitor the meat's temperature during cooking.

Ingredients
  • 8

    ounces pitted prunes (about 1½ cups)

  • ½

    cup soy sauce

  • ¼

    cup ketchup

  • 3

    tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2

    tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 2

    tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 2

    tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 3

    anchovy fillets

  • 1

    five- to six-pound beef eye round roast, trimmed

  • Fresh horseradish sauce, to serve (optional)

For the horseradish sauce
  • 1

    cup sour cream

  • ½

    cup freshly grated horseradish root (3-inch piece)

  • 2

    tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1

    tablespoon water

  • 2

    teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

  • 1

    teaspoon kosher salt

Step 1 of 4

Prepare the wet rub and marinate the meat

8
ounces pitted prunes (about 1½ cups)
½
cup soy sauce
¼
cup ketchup
3
tablespoons kosher salt
2
tablespoons black peppercorns
2
tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2
tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
3
anchovy fillets
1
5- to 6-pound beef eye round roast, trimmed

In a food processor, blend the prunes, soy sauce, ketchup, salt, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and anchovies until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a 2-gallon zip-close bag.


Poke the roast all over with a fork, then place in the bag. Turn to coat, then refrigerate for 48 hours.

Step 2 of 4

Roast the meat

Heat the oven to 275ºF with a rack in the middle position. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the roast from the bag and transfer to the rack. Discard the marinade in the bag and evenly brush any marinade sticking to the roast’s surface.


Roast until the meat registers 125ºF, 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Step 3 of 4

Slice and serve

Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Thinly slice and serve with fresh horseradish sauce, if desired. 

Step 4 of 4

Make the horseradish sauce

1
cup sour cream
½
cup freshly grated horseradish root (3-inch piece)
2
tablespoons white wine vinegar
1
tablespoon water
2
teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1
teaspoon kosher salt

In a bowl, stir together sour cream, freshly grated horseradish, white wine, water, minced fresh rosemary and kosher salt. The sauce can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

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Done!

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