Slow-Roast, Spice-Rubbed Beef/Buffalo with Wine & Mushroom or Cranberry Sauce

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

by Cat, Dec 2013 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Slow-Roast Beef, Buffalo, Venison or Lamb2. Slow-Roast Beef Brisket in Red Wine with Mushrooms

Slow-roasting and braising are the best ways to cook a roast for optimum tenderness and flavor, and are the best methods for the tougher cuts of roast. Plus it doesn’t take much more time to slow-roast (to rare) than for a regular roast.

See also: 1. Slow-Roast Beef, Buffalo, Venison or Lamb2. Slow-Roast Beef Brisket in Red Wine with Mushrooms; 3. Beef Brisket with Cranberry Glaze

Spice-Rubbed Slow-Roast Beef/Buffalo with Wine & Mushroom or Cranberry Sauce

This recipe is adapted from Fine (1), but includes a cranberry version adapted from my Beef Brisket Braised with Cranberries recipe (not yet tested). Options: You can…

  • Refrigerate the spice-rubbed  roast up to 36 hours in advance; two different spice/herb options are presented, or use your own.
  • Make up the sauce ahead of time, or make up the sauce while the meat is roasting. However, I find the original method for the sauce to be too fussy for the final result, so I use a simpler method, taught to me by my parents. However, I do provide the original sauce instructions, should you wish to try that.
  • Use either of two sauce options: Mushroom or Cranberry
  • Instead of serving potatoes steamed separately, roast potatoes in bottom of roasting pan as a rack to keep roast off bottom of pan. Follow method for Slow-Roast Beef, Buffalo, Venison or Lamb.

I like to serve this with steamed or roasted potatoes with braised asparagus and green beans on the side.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Roast
  • 2 lb beef roast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp ground thyme (skip if using cranberry sauce)
  • 5 – 6 tsp herb/seed mix of your choice (see below for suggestions)
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • small bowl
  • roasting pan
  • Herb/Seed Mix:
    • Option 1
    • 1 ½ tsp ground fennel seed
    • ½ tsp coarsely ground cardamom or allspice seeds
    • 1 Tbsp cracked peppercorns
    • Option 2, ground in spice grinder (use this if making cranberry sauce):
    • 2 tsp Juniper Berries
    • 2 tsp Black peppercorns
    • 2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • Sauce options:
    • Option 1: Mushroom Sauce (see also Original Sauce recipe, below)
    • ½ – 1 cup dry red wine
    • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 2 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced (½ – ⅔ cup)
    • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced shallot
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 1 cup homemade Beef Stock
    • 1 Tbsp flour or tapioca starch
    • 1 Tbsp warm water
    • Unrefined sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Option 2: Cranberry Sauce (not yet tested), same as option 1 with following adjustments
    • 8 – 10 oz cranberries instead of mushrooms
    • 1 bay leaf, crushed, instead of thyme
    • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • Equipment
  • small skillet


  1. Combine olive oil, herb/seed mix, 1 – 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in small bowl. Pat meat dry with paper towels, then rub spice mixture all over; it will sparsely cover the meat. If you want more of a spicy crust, double the amount. Chill, lightly covered, in refrigerator up to 36 hours before roasting, if desired.
  2. If you’ve seasoned the beef ahead of time, remove it from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about an hour before roasting.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250°F for slow-roast (or 375°F for regular roast).
  4. Arrange room-temperature roast in roasting pan, and roast 45 – 60 minutes (slow-roast) or 40 – 45 minutes (regular roast), until instant-read thermometer inserted  in the thickest part reads 120°F for rare, 125°F to 130°F for medium rare, or 135°F for medium.
  5. Remove to cutting board or platter; let rest for 15 minutes before carving crosswise into thick slices.
  6. Prepare sauce (while meat is roasting)
    1. Sauce Option 1:
      1. Slice mushrooms and shallots. Remove & reserve leaves from thyme sprig (if using).
      2. Deglaze roasting pan with wine and allow wine to cook down to half-volume; keep warm.
      3.  Warm butter in small skillet; add sliced mushrooms, shallots and thyme leaves, and sauté until soft.
    2. Sauce Option 2:
      1. Wash cranberries; slice shallots.
      2. Saute shallots in butter.
      3. Add cranberries and molasses, and stir to combine
    3. Both Options:
      1. Deglaze roasting pan with wine and allow wine to cook down to half-volume; keep warm.
      2. Add deglazing liquid to skillet. Add broth and cook, stirring, for 2 -3 minutes; adjust seasoning.
      3. If you want to thicken the sauce slightly, dissolve 1 tsp cornstarch/arrowroot in 1 Tbsp water; add to sauce and cook until it thickens.

Original Sauce Recipe

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced (½ – ⅔ cup)
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced shallot
  • ⅛ tsp Rapadura sugar
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup homemade Beef Stock
  • 1 ½ Tbsp flour or tapioca starch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • cast iron skillet
  • small saucepan


This can be prepared up to two days ahead. Cool to room temperature before storing in capped jar in refrigerator. Reheat over simmer before serving.

  1. Slice mushrooms and shallot.
  2. Melt ½ Tbsp each of  butter and oil in skillet over medium heat. Add  mushrooms, shallot, sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add thyme, peppercorns, and ½ cup  wine. Simmer briskly until the wine reduces and just covers the solids, 10 to 15 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup wine and reduce again until the wine just covers the solids, 10 to 12 minutes more.
  4. Add stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve set over a 1-quart measuring cup, pressing lightly on the solids. If you have more than ¾ cup liquid, return the sauce to the pan and simmer until reduced to ¾ cup.
  6. Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour/starch and cook, whisking often, until smooth and light beige in color, about 1 minute. Slowly add the wine reduction, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serving Instructions

  • Serve with steamed yellow Finn potatoes and green vegetable of your choice.
  • Spoon sauce over slices of roast.


12/12/13: Used 2 lb rump roast; rubbed with oil, thyme, fennel, cardamon, salt & cracked pepper mixture. Slow-roast at 250°F for 55 min to about 122°F internal temp. Used button mushrooms, shallots, merlot wine and homemade beef stock, and made sauce as instructed; took longer for each wine addition to evaporate than indicated. A lot of bother. Result: Beef roasted to perfect rare; herb/spice combination is very good, but a bit too much salt. Sauce is good but not special. Next time I’ll make a regular sauce with sautéed mushrooms left in the sauce. I replaced the original wine-reduction sauce recipe with this alternate version, the copied the original sauce at the end in case someone else wishes to give it a try.

1/1/14: Used 1 ¾ lb cross-rib boneless roast; rubbed with salt and herb/spice-mix #2. Into oven at 6:30, out at 7:12, slow-roasting at 250°F for 42 min to about 120°F internal temp. For sauce: Did not use mushrooms because none on-hand, but did use ½ shallot, ⅓ cup merlot and ½ cup beef stock, then added another ½ cup beef stock with tapioca starch to thicken, and make more sauce. Used fresh rosemary leaves instead of thyme. Very good. Meat is nicely rare and the spice/herb rub adds flavor.


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