Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is one of those classic English dishes that we hardly ever cook for ourselves. We’ll eat out at a pub or restaurant for Sunday lunch instead of cooking our own, because a roast lunch with all the trimmings can seem a bit intimidating.
However cooking your own roast beef is actually quite simple. It’s mostly a matter of buying good quality meat and not overcooking it, letting it rest before carving it and then serving it up with some crispy roast potatoes and steamed vegetables.
If this is your first attempt at serving a Sunday roast at home, then leave the Yorkshire pudding out of the equation till next time. It is usually the stress of timing so many dishes to come out of a hot oven and onto the table at the same time that puts us off cooking a Sunday roast at home, so just concentrate on getting the meat and potatoes right for now.
Roast Beef Recipe
1-1.5kg / 2-3lb sirloin beef joint
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or beef dripping
1 glass red wine
Preheat your oven to 200C / 400F.
Calculate the time needed to cook your roast beef to the pinkness you prefer.
30 minutes per kilo / 15 minutes per pound for medium rare
40 minutes per kilo / 20 minutes per pound for medium
50 minutes per kilo / 25 minutes per pound for medium well done
1 hour per kilo / 30 minutes per pound for well done.
Heat the oil or dripping in the roasting tin, then place the seasoned joint in the roasting tin fat side down. Turn it in the hot fat to seal and colour it on all sides for about 5 minutes. Add a halved onion into the roasting tin with the beef, then place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven. Turn the joint halfway through its roasting time.
Once the time is up, take the meat out of the roasting tray and put it on a warmed carving dish, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving, while you make the gravy and crisp up the roast potatoes.
To make a thin gravy of the juices: pour off the fat from the roasting tin (you can keep it to use as beef dripping another day), then put the tin over a medium heat and pour in the red wine, let it bubble and loosen any cooking residue in the tin. The onion will have left some lovely caramelised buts that will add a real depth to your gravy as well as giving it a brown colour. Add a cup of the water saved from par-boiling the potatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Taste to see how strong the flavour is, and add a little more water if necessary.
Tips for really great roast potatoes:
Par boil for 5 minutes. After they have drained shake the potatoes in the pan with the lid on, to rough up their edges.
Heat enough olive oil or sunflower oil to cover the base of the roasting tin and add the potatoes when it is sizzling. Turn them in the oil and roast for 1 ½ hours, turning once or twice. Leave them in the oven till the last minute, so that you serve them crispy and hot.
Not ready to cook your own Sunday roast at home? Try a traditional Sunday lunch at Bluu restaurant in Nottingham.