May 21 2007

Roast Beef

Let’s start with a traditional Sunday roast! A fillet of beef, a piece of sirloin or a rib caramelised on the outside and pink in the middle served with good gravy, Yorkshire pudding, fresh horseradish (grated into clotted cream!) and seasonal vegetables must surely be one of our best national dishes.

Rub the meat all over with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place in a robust roasting tin and place in a very hot (preheated!) oven 220C/Gas 7 for 20 minutes to seal the meat and give you that dark rich coating to the meat. Reduce the heat to 180C for remaining cooking time. This will depend on how well cooked you like your meat.
Here is a rough guide to cooking times, but remember all cookers vary and you are the best judge of yours.

10 minutes per 500gm Rare (very pink)
15 minutes per 500gm Medium (just pink)
20 minutes per 500gm Well done ( no pink)

When you are satisfied the beef is cooked to your liking remove it from the oven, take it out of the roasting tin and leave it in a warm place to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. All roast meat benefits hugely by being rested after cooking. Resting allows the juices to settle evenly through the meat. It also gives you time to cook the Yorkshire pudding, finish off the vegetables and make the gravy.

To make the gravy first pour off excess fat from the roasting tin then deglaze it with a little stock or vegetable water and , if you like, a dash of red wine. Mix a couple of generous teaspoons of corn flour with a little water and stir into the gravy over the heat. Keep stirring till it thickens and clears, add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary strain it through a sieve into a gravy jug.

Topside and silverside make very respectable roasting joints too provided that the meat is well hung and the cooking is slower and gentler. Give the meat a quicker hot blast as above then lower the heat to 195C and cook the meat for 20 minutes per 500gm. Slow roasting will become braising if you add some vegetables and liquid and cover the pot.

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