Proper good roast beef

sliced roast beef

When I was about fourteen, I went vegetarian. My poor mum had to stock the freezers with Linda McCartney burgers and most of the quorn range, and she also bought tofu and invested in a vegetarian cook book.  Two weeks in, I quit.  The pull of bacon was just far too strong.

Since then, I can’t think of a day when I haven’t eaten meat. I love it. Proscuitto is something I can demolish a whole pack of in one sitting, and I base my weekly meals around sausages and minced beef.  Don’t even get me started on pork crackling!

Anyway, last weekend I cooked roast beef.

roast beef

I’ve done roast pork and roast chicken before really well (recipes to follow soon) but I’d never attempted roast beef.  Ooh I also know a really good roast leg of lamb recipe where you put the meat directly onto the shelf of the oven to cook and the fat drips down on to a tray of thinly sliced potatoes making them lovely and crispy.  It’s heaven on earth. (I’ll pull out the recipe and post it up here very soon, I promise!)

To have a proper roast, you NEED to have roast potatoes, roast veg, good gravy and yorkshires.  For the yorkshires and the gravy, you can get lovely ready made versions from the supermarket.  For the potatoes, I’ve discovered that if you peel and par boil the potatoes (as usual) and fill a roasting tin with oil (as usual), before you bung the drained potatoes in the oven to roast, you cover them in 2 tablespoons of flour.  This will help them to soak up the oil and crisp better.  TRY IT.

The recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s roast beef. The only reason it’s not EXACTLY the same is that Jamie doesn’t give you any guidance on cooking time vs weight.  So here’s my guide for cooking a 1.2kg joint of beef to medium.

You will need:

A good quality joint of beef.  I had a 1.2kg topside.

2 carrots

2 onions

2 sticks of celery

A bulb of garlic

A few sprigs of thyme or rosemary

Start by preheating your oven to 210 degrees fan.  Take a big roasting tin and drizzle with 1 glug (don’t you just LOVE that word?!) of oil.

In the base of the tin, place the two carrots, peeled and each cut into four pieces.  Add the onions, peeled and quartered, and the celery, washed and cut in threes.  Gather the vegetables together so that they form a pile in the centre of the tin and sprinkle the garlic cloves over the pile.  Pour over another glug of oil.

raw veg

Unwrap the beef and pat dry with kitchen towel.  Next rub it with oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Then place it on top of the veg and sprinkle with the rosemary/thyme.

raw meat

Place in the oven and let it cook at 210 degrees for 20 mins. Here’s my cooking rule:

Whatever the weight, it must cook at 210 for 20 minutes, then 180 for 15 minutes for every 450g for medium or 20 minutes for every 450g for well done.

So for 1.2kg that is 2.67 x 450g so also 2.67 x 15 mins = 40 mins.

So for my beef, after the initial 20 min cooking session, I cooked it for a further 40 mins at 180 degrees.  This left it beautifully crispy on the outside, but very pink on the inside.

more roast beef

Once cooked, remove it from the oven, cover it tightly in foil and leave it to rest for at least 30 mins.

sliced roast beef

Then you can carve and serve with all of the trimmings I mentioned earlier.


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