Roast Beef and Gravy
4-6 –lb. inside round of beef, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, quartered
1 whole garlic bulb, outer papery skin removed and bulb cut in half
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried marjoram
¼ tsp. black peppercorns
1-3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 loaves poor-boy bread or 6 French baguettes, cut lengthwise and into sections 6-8 inches long
1 head lettuce, shredded coarsely
8 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Dill pickle slices
Preheat the oven to 350º. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Put it in a Dutch oven filled about a third of the way with water. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, and black peppercorns. Roast, uncovered for 4-6 hours, turning the roast and adding water every hour or so. The water level should slowly drop, but don’t let it get less than approximately 2 inches deep. The beef is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the center read 160º.
Remove the roast from the pot and place in a pan hat will catch all the juices as it cools.
Skim off fat from the stock in the pot. Use a coarse sieve to strain the stock into a bowl, and then return the stock to the pot. Add any juices that came out of the roast as it rests. Bring the stock to a simmer. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Cook to a thin gravy consistency.
When you’re ready to make sandwiches, preheat the oven to 400º. Bring the gravy to a simmer and whisk in the flour (but only if the gravy appears to need thickening). Add the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice the roast beef as thin as possible. Collect all the crumbs and slivers that fall off and add this to the gravy. Stack as much sliced roast beef as you want on a length of French bread. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and dill pickles. Spoon on as much gravy as the sandwich can hold. Bake the assembled sandwich for about a minute to toast the bed.
Makes 12-18 po’boys
Corporate attorney Hannah DuPont-Lowell always pictured herself returning to New Orleans to retire—just not yet. But after her Manhattan company abruptly lays off its staff, there’s no better place to figure out a next move than the porch of her plantation-style home.
Nestled in the stunning Garden District, the DuPont House has been in Hannah’s family for two centuries. With its eighteen rooms and two guesthouses, it’s far more home than widowed Hannah needs. Still, it could make a wonderful inn, especially if she can convince her friends and former coworkers Tonya, Jasmine, and Nydia to join in the venture. But in the meantime, Hannah has a high school reunion to attend…
College Professor St. John McNair, Hannah’s one-time classmate, is still the finest guy in any room. Between Hannah’s willowy, blonde beauty, and his uncanny resemblance to Marvin Gaye, they make a striking pair. And gradually, their rekindled friendship moves toward romance. Still, Hannah is too bruised by her late husband’s infidelities to trust a man again. But her friends’ arrival and encouragement just might show her a path through uncertainty—straight to a vibrant, joyful new life…