At cooking school in Heidelberg, Germany, our group prepared dumplings, spaetzle, soup, vegetables and dessert. But lurking in an oven out of sight from our prep tables was a beautiful roast covered with fresh rosemary and thyme. I saw Chef Deppel open up the oven door and look at it a couple of times, but we were not involved in its preparation. It mysteriously appeared, perfectly cooked for our plated meal.
A visit to the meat counter at my local market had me staring at a case full of roasts, none of which resembling the cut from Germany. I described how the piece of meat looked and that it was melt in your mouth tender even after a short cook time. It was lean and uniform in the shape of a rectangle and was three to four inches thick. My butcher thought it might have been a thick cut sirloin steak. I’m still not sure, but I chose a tri-tip to replicate this simple dish.
I’m no stranger to tri-tips. I’ve reverse seared them, and I’ve Santa-Maria’d them on the grill. I’ve cooked them in a crockpot for a long roast. They’ve always been full of flavor and tender in texture. The tri-tip didn’t disappoint for this quick oven roasted meal. I simply slathered the roast with Dijon mustard, generously covered it with fresh stalks of rosemary and thyme and cooked it uncovered in a 350-degree oven until the meat thermometer reached 135 degrees. When using a tri-tip, make sure you slice the meat against the grain to serve.
It’s amazing how the herbs and spices infused flavor deep into the meat for a delicious entree. It’s a perfect recipe for entertaining. The photo above is the mystery cut and the plated meal from our cooking school in Germany. The beef is sided with broccoli and carrots topped with slivered almonds, and homemade spaetzle topped with caramelized onions.
Here’s my copycat meal at home. As you can see the cuts of meat are very different, but the flavor of the tri-tip was just as savory and tender as what I had in Germany. That spaetzle is from a bag, Maggi brand that we found at Cost Plus World Market here in Denver. It was very good, and next time I make it, you’ll see those caramelized onions on top.
Before we went to our afternoon-long cooking school in Heidelberg, Germany, a few of us took a long hike up the hillside. Please join me for a photo tour of that beautiful morning.
I took this photo from my third-floor hotel room in Heidelberg right before we were leaving for a hike. Hotel Villa Marstall had a feel of luxury and history and may have been my favorite hotel of the trip. My room faced the Neckar River which is a major tributary to the Rhine. See that hill across the river? Marion, Kirsten, Kathy and myself decided we’d hike it the morning before our cooking school. Oh but wait, here comes the sculling team, better get a photo of that before I leave. The blue boat to the side is equipped with a man and a megaphone loudly yelling orders in German.
Leaving the hotel we walked just a few blocks along the river towards the famous Old Bridge. The towers you see mark the entrance to the bridge. I was told one tower contains dungeons and the other only a spiral staircase.
This shot was taken once we crossed over the bridge, looking back at the towers and city of Heidelberg. With it’s sandstone arches, it’s spectacular. And don’t you love that orange building peeking out behind the towers?
Heading up the hill, you find yourself on this picturesque trail lined with stone walls and a cobblestone path. We meadered, wandered and wobbled our way up the 45-degree sloped Philosopher’s Walk. Kirsten told us it was named because the professors and philosophers from the college, walked there, perhaps using the solitude of the forest and the incredible views of the city and surrounding area for inspiration. From left to right, Kirsten, Kathy and Marion.
About half way up the hill, the trail opened up into an apple orchard. Heidelberg’s oceanic climate is very suited for orchards and vineyards.
Once at the top we had incredible panoramas of the city. This is a shot looking back at the Old Bridge.
One of these buildings is our hotel. I knew which one at the time. I think it’s the yellow building in the middle with the white car in front.
Everywhere you go in Heidelberg, the massive ruins of the famous Heidelburg Castle loom over you. This is a zoomed photo on a hazy day. Stay tuned, as we took a guided tour the castle the next day.
Oven Roasted Tri-tip with Rosemary and Thyme…It’s What’s for Dinner.