Well we didn’t earn our nickname for nothing. There’s nothing like a proper roast bit o’ beef, accompanied of course by Yorkshire pudding. The French can have their namby pamby souffles and gratins, their purees and their rostis, their dauphinoise and their pommes anna. We’ll have a great, bleeding hunk of cow and a fat-sodden inflated pancake to mop up the juice. NOT “jus“. JUICE. Gravy.
As ever, the key to perfect roast beef is simply a good piece of meat. Well-hung, matured, nice and dark purple, and dry as a bone. No JUICE yet. Good meat should always be dry, not sitting in that flourescent red fluid in a vac-pack in the supermarket.
Roast Beef and Root Veg for a dreary January Evening So once you’ve found your perfect piece of meat, it’s time for the Yorkie. If you’re hardcore like my grandmother and mother were before me, you make yours in a loaf tin. That way it’s fat soaked, stodgy and delicious. Not dry, crispy and disappointing as a communion wafer, as they so often are in bad pubs (Yorkies not communion wafers obviously.) And you use a fail-safe ratio. One egg per person, cracked into a bowl and whisked. To this whisk in plain flour until you cannot whisk any more. Then add milk gradually, whisking all the time until the consistency of thick cream is reached. Add a good pinch of salt and set aside to rest for at least an hour. Put a healthy dollop of goose fat (mine was left over from the duck rilletes I made for Christmas so had been infused with garlic, bay, thyme and duck already-don’t cha know) into a loaf tin and put it in a preheated oven until smoking hot. I used a sirloin joint for roasting-which is consistently well-flavoured but not too pricey. Rub the beef all over with more goosefat and salt and pepper and place in roasting tray. Preheat your oven to 200. Roast the beef for 20 mins at this temp, then turn the oven down to 150-160 and roast for 30 minutes per kg. (this is for medium-rare meat). My joint fed 4, weighed 1.5kg, and was in the oven for roughly an hour and 5 minutes. You’ll need to allow a good half hour’s resting time when the meat comes out the oven-so make sure you time your trimmings right too! When the beef is in the oven steam some root veg- I used baby beetroots, parsnip and carrot batons and halved jerusalem artichokes(no need to peel-just wash well). Steam them until just tender, then tip into a roasting tray with a few bashed cloves of garlic, a healthy slug of olive oil, salt and pepper and a handful of chopped rosemary. Put these in 45 mins before the beef’s ready to eat. They’re ready when they are caramelised and golden. The yorkshire can go in with 20 mins left on the timer. It will take 40 mins at 200, and the raw mixture shoud be poured into the hot fat in the loaf tin, then put straight in the oven.
When the beef’s done, take it out, put it on a board and cover with tin foil to rest. Make a simple pan gravy by warming the roasting tin of fat on the hob, stirring in a tablespoon of flour and frying for a few minutes. Then pour is helathy slug of wine and let it bubble away, stirring. Add stock (or the water from the steamed veg) and reduce. Then season with salt and pepper and a dollop of redcurrant jelly. Serve and enjoy your national dish! With horserubbish sauce of course.