quick thyme and lemon roasted beef

a succulent roast flavored with thyme, lemon and garlic
a succulent roast flavored with thyme, lemon and garlic

“RESTED” THYME AND GARLIC ROAST BEEF. This is definitely not a traditional Italian recipe. However, the resulting flavor is deeply Mediterranean without the effort of the slow cooking and basting endured by our mothers. The concept of the roast is that you must cook the meat briefly on high heat.  Then cover and let it rest in a draft free area of your kitchen. This way the  indirect heat of the pan cooks it some more but keeps it wonderfully tender.


  • 1 kg/2 pounds topside or silver side lean beef
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil

Bring the beef at room temperature. Preheat oven at 220 °C/430 °F.

To prepare the dressing, remove leaves of 4 thyme sprigs and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, 3 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove of finely minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a cast iron casserole pan over medium-high heat and when hot add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the meat and brown it evenly, turning every few minutes. This step will take about 5-10  minutes, depending on the size of the roast. Keep the pan covered so you do not mess up the stove!

When the roast is well browned on all sides add 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs and 1/2 cup white wine. Cover with a heavy lid and transfer into the preheated oven.

Roast for 30 min turning every 10 min adding more white wine if necessary. Remove from the oven and cover the meat quite tightly with foil and again with the lid. Let it rest for at least 15 min in a warm place then slice thinly and place the slices back into the pan. Squeeze the cooked garlic cloves out of their papery husks into the dressing. Drizzle the dressing over the meat and leave to infuse for 5-10 min.  Transfer slices and juices on a pre-heated dish and serve. The meat will be only slightly warm.

This recipe can be made with either fresh rosemary or sage or dried oregano instead of thyme.

Serves 4-6

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