Leftover Love: Slow-Roasted Chipotle Beef

chipotle-beefNext up in our week of Leftover Love, a meat component: a top round of beef, dry-rubbed with chipotle powder and an orange-rosemary salt, and slow-roasted on a bed of aromatic vegetables.

When I pulled this top round steak out of the freezer in the morning to thaw, I had every intention of making beef tacos for dinner: I had cabbage, carrots and cilantro in the fridge, pickled chiles and salsa in the pantry, masa harina in the freezer, and by slow-roasting the meat all afternoon, I was keeping the house warm to boot. I even put a pound of dried beans in water to soak, thinking of burrito/nacho/chili options later in the week. But the day got away from me: Tai came home early, starving, and the tortillas were unmade, the cabbage unsliced. So, a quick change of plans: thick slices of spicy beef served over celeriac purée (otherwise known as last night’s soup), garnished with a simple salad of fennel stalks and celery leaves, and finished with a red wine-orange juice reduction.

Oh, and this beef: as simple as it was, just a pat-down, dry-rub and unattended slow-roast, the flavor was divine. Perfectly cooked (if I do say so myself) to a lovely deep-pink medium-rare, with a crusty, spicy, caramelized exterior and a meltingly tender, sweet interior, this is a steak to make you fall in love with beef all over again. Who could complain about having this leftover in the fridge?

This dinner was restaurant-fancy, and more-than-restaurant-delicious, yet came together in minutes with meat already resting on the cutting board, soup from last night in the fridge, a quick chop of some vegetables and a spooned-over reduction sauce. The bonus? There is plenty of meat leftover for tacos another night. Stay tuned.

Leftover Love is a series in which I enthuse about the joys of having a fridge packed full of rich & varied meal components – a.k.a “leftovers” – to aid you in making easy and delicious meals all week long.

chipotle-beefSlow-Roasted Chipotle Beef


  • one 2-lb top round beef steak (Johnnycake Mountain grass-fed beef, Burlington, CT)
  • 1 tbsp orange-rosemary salt (or 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh orange zest and 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary)
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease or canola oil
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium red beet, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F. Mix orange-rosemary salt and chipotle powder together in a snall bowl. Pat steak dry with a clean kitchen towel, then rub all over with spice mixture. Allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. Scatter vegetables across the bottom of a small roasting pan. Lay rosemary stem across the top. Heat grease in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Sear steak on all sides. Transfer to roasting dish with vegetables, laying across the rosemary. Roast at 180 degrees F until the internal temperature in the middle of the steak reads 135 degrees F (medium-rare), about 2 ½ hours. Remove from the oven and rest meat, under an inverted bowl, for at least 20 minutes.
  3. While meat is resting, make the reduction sauce. Add wine, orange juice, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper to the roasting pan with the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up fond and stirring so the vegetables don’t burn. Boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce is reduced and syrupy, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Slice beef against the grain. Serve over warmed celeriac purée with fennel & celery. Strain the reduction sauce, or simply tilt the pan and spoon sauce over the beef.

Yields enough spicy beef for several meals.


  1. If you know you’ll be re-heating some leftovers, or re-purposing in another dish, leave the center of the steak a bit underdone for you; perhaps cook the edges to medium-rare, and the center rare, so that when you need to cook or heat again, the meat does not get overcooked.
  2. I used a full tablespoon (3 teaspoons) on my steak. I was quite spicy. I liked it, but Tai found it too much.
  3. Don’t skip the sear: the crusty, caramelized exterior makes the contrast with the gorgeous, moist and tender interior of the steak that much better.
  4. The flavor of this steak was more chipotle than anything else, so I’m not sure how much impact the orange-rosemary salt had. However, I feel like the flavor was more nuanced than simply “chipotle.” If you don’t have flavored salt, feel free to use plain salt, but consider tossing in some dried herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram) or other ground spices (cumin, coriander, fennel) for complexity.


Refrigerated for up to 5 days.




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  2. Dale in Denver

    I used a 3.5 lb tri-tip roast for this today. It turned out fabulous. I confess – only made it for the tacos. And the huevos rancheros. Delish!

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  4. I just wanted to stop by to say how good this entire series was, I think meal planning and leftovers can be seen as mundane tasks and this makes it look effortless and artful. And using thick soup as an ingredient is totally genius!

    • Thanks, Sara! I’m so glad you liked it. This is honestly how I cook most of the time, but logistically, it’s very hard to write recipes this way. But since the response has been so positive, I’ll try to work up another series soon.. maybe in the spring.

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