How to cook the perfect roast beef and Yorkshire puddings

How to cook the perfect roast beef and Yorkshire puddings

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg boned and rolled Scotch Beef silverside
  • 1 tbsp beef dripping or butter
  • 1 tsp salt and some freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-12 small red onions, peeled and slit in a cross at the pointed end (so that they do not burst in the oven)
  • 4 heads garlic, halved horizontally
  • A few sprigs of thyme

Yorkshire puddings

  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 300ml milk mixed with 200ml water
  • beef dripping
  • You will need a 12 hole muffin tin for the puds

Gravy

  • For the gravy, add to the pan juices
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp port (or redcurrant jelly)
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon or English mustard

There are few things that can’t be cured by a Sunday roast. OK, that might be overstating it a little but when I was younger, the smell of my mum’s Sunday lunch would beckon me in from playing without my mother’s usual bellowing. Even these days, we still visit for this meaty treat. But alas, we all get to the stage in life when our parents start demanding a Sunday off and the kids have to give it a shot. So here it goes. And although I’m not saying this recipe is as sublime as your mother’s beef, let’s just say it’s as close as you can get without offending mothers everywhere. And it’s foolproof.

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Start off with the Yorkshire pudding batter. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt, and make a well in the centre. Break in the eggs (a good time perhaps to practise your one-handed egg crack, I discovered that mine needs more work) and hand whisk in half the liquid. Gradually incorporate the flour as you whisk until you have a smooth thick batter with no lumps, it should be like a thick pancake batter. Stir in the rest of the liquid and leave to stand. Put 1/2 a teaspoon of beef dripping into each of the muffin cups.

Preheat the oven to 210°C. Rub the rolled silverside joint with the beef dripping and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper (I’d show you a pic but it’s not the prettiest at this stage). Put the joint into a roasting tin and into the hot oven for 20 minutes to brown. This’ll give you time to cut the onions and garlic.

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Take out the joint after 20 mins and reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (don’t worry, it’ll only be lightly coloured at this stage, it’ll get browner later). Add the onions, garlic and thyme around the beef with about 100ml of water and cover with foil.

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Cook for about 2 hours, basting every so often, adding a little more water if necessary. This will keep the meat moist. Re-cover with the foil each time. Uncover the meat for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Then remove the meat to a warm serving dish with the onions and garlic, cover well and keep it warm.

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Turn the oven up to 210°C to get ready for the yorkies. Place the muffin tin in the oven until the fat is very hot, stir the batter well, then 2/3 fill each muffin cup. Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes and pray to the Yorkshire pudding gods until they’re well risen and golden brown. Meanwhile make the gravy.

Skim off any fat from the surface of the pan juices, the pop the pan on the hob over a medium heat and stir in the wine and gather up all the sticky bits. Then add the water and the port or redcurrant jelly (I used the jelly which made the sauce nice and shiny) and simmer to reduce the liquid a little. Add the mustard and stir until the sauce is rich and thickened and delicious. It’ll be bursting with flavour but give it a taste and season if it needs it.

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Slice the beef and serve a couple of slices per person with the soft onions, a piece of garlic, the Yorkshire puddings and a spoon or two of gravy and your favourite green vegetable, I picked spinach. Serve and listen to the silence as everyone tucks in. (No wonder our parents made them most Sundays, they just did it for the peace and quiet.) Don’t worry, the usual blethers resumed once the entire beef was finished, which makes me think I might cook a bigger one next time. 

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