Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Daddy

The great philosopher Lee Evans once pointed out the sheer stupidity of the bovine race - they're black and white, but they stand in a green field. They deserve death.

If you want to roast beef (who doesn't?) then choosing a good quality cut is very important. The cut in the picture is a rib, which I used for this recipe, but other good roasting cuts include sirloin and topside. Good quality beef is a bit darker than what you see on supermarket shelves due to the aging process. Also, note the extensive fat running through the beef - this will baste the flesh as it cooks, making it juicy and delicious. The best beef is hung for 28 days to intensify the flavour, and as far as I know you can only get this in the UK. Finally, I recommend keeping it on the bone if you can as the bone conducts heat and adds flavour.

A two-rib "chine" like the one in this picture will easily feed at least four people with enough left for extra helpings. The onion halves caramelise during the cooking process and flavour the gravy nicely, but they retain their shape and avoid burning, so you can have them as a nice accompaniment to the beef.

  • 1 x two-rib chine of beef
  • Rock salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 pint Newcastle Brown Ale
  • 2 tbsps English mustard or mustard powder
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil or beef dripping
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsps plain flour
  • 2 red onions, halved and peeled
  • 600ml good quality beef stock
  • Handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 1 x bulb of garlic, chopped in half
  1. Get your beef out of the fridge about an hour before you want to roast it. Preheat the oven to 240 degrees.
  2. Rub your beef with the mustard, salt and black pepper. Use plenty of pepper.
  3. Put a roasting tin on the hob and turn up the heat. Add the oil, and when it's really hot (i.e. smoking) put the beef in, skin side down. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side until nicely browned, then remove to a plate.
  4. Put the rosemary, garlic and onions in the roasting tin and put the beef on top of them, then put it in the oven. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 190 degrees and continue roasting for 15 minutes per pound (yes I said pound) for medium rare beef. If you don't like it medium rare I would suggest roasting it for 12 minutes per pound for rare or 18 for well done. You can check how rare is it by piercing it with a skewer. Baste the beef twice during cooking.
  5. When the beef is done, return the tin to the hob. Remove the beef and the onions to a plate and cover with foil while you make the gravy; this will let the meat relax and redistribute the juices.
  6. Turn the heat on high underneath the roasting tin. Using a whisk, stir in the flour and deglaze the pan with the ale. When the ale has reduced by half add the Worcestershire sauce, any extra juices that have leaked out of the beef while it's been resting and the beef stock. Boil until reduced to a thickness you like. Strain the gravy into a jug (or, if you're posh, a gravy boat).
  7. Carve the beef and serve on warm plates with the onions and roasted or mashed potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. As it was quite hot on the day I did this beef I fried some mashed potato fritters with rosemary, mustard and creamed horseradish as a lighter accompaniment.

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