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Weekend Recipe: Fennel-Coriander Top Sirloin Roast

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Fennel-Coriander Top Sirloin Roast
Photo: Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen took a relatively humble sirloin roast and transformed it into an elegant holiday meal with a few simple refinements.

Cutting the large, oddly shaped roast in half and then tying it along its length gave us two round, attractive cylinders that cooked through in just 2 hours (half of the time a prime rib would require). This method also offered the convenience of cooking each roast to a different degree of doneness to accommodate guest preferences. Salting the roasts overnight seasoned them well and helped keep them moist during cooking, while roasting them in a low 225-degree oven avoided overcooking the exterior before the interior cooked through. We took a three-step approach to creating a flavorful, attractive exterior. First, we seared the roasts on all sides after their long salting and then we coated them with an aromatic paste of garlic, anchovy, fennel, coriander, paprika, and oregano. Finishing the roasts with a brief stint in a 500-degree oven deepened the paste’s color and flavor and helped crisp it for some contrasting texture.

Fennel-Coriander Top Sirloin Roast
Serves 8 to 10


1 (5- to 6-pound) boneless top sirloin, center-cut roast
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
coarse sea salt


This recipe requires refrigerating the salted meat for at least 24 hours before cooking. The roast, also called a top sirloin roast, top butt roast, center-cut roast, spoon roast, shell roast, or shell sirloin roast, should not be confused with a whole top sirloin butt roast or top loin roast. Do not omit the anchovies; they provide great depth of flavor with no overt fishiness. Monitoring the roast with a meat-probe thermometer is best. If you use an instant-read thermometer, open the oven door as little as possible and remove the roast from the oven to take its temperature.

1. Cut roast lengthwise along grain into 2 equal pieces. Rub 1 tablespoon kosher salt over each piece. Transfer to large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours or up to 4 days.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Brown 1 roast on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Return browned roast to plate. Repeat with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining roast. Let cool for 10 minutes.

3. While roasts cool, process garlic, anchovies, fennel, coriander, paprika, oregano, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add pepper and pulse to combine, 2 to 3 pulses.

4. Using 5 pieces of kitchen twine per roast, tie each roast crosswise at equal intervals into loaf shape. Transfer roasts to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and rub roasts evenly with paste.

5. Roast until meat registers 125 degrees for medium-rare or 130 degrees for medium, 2 to 2 1/4 hours. Remove roasts from oven, leaving on wire rack, and tent loosely with aluminum foil; let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 40 minutes.

6. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove foil from roasts and cut and discard twine. Return roasts to oven and cook until exteriors of roasts are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

7. Transfer roasts to carving board. Slice meat 1/4 inch thick. Season with sea salt to taste, and serve.

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