Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Last week the kind folks at Abel and Cole quite generously sent me a beautiful piece of rolled sirloin. If there is one thing that is done really well here in the UK, it's beef. We have some of the nicest beef in the world and the people at Abel and Cole have made it their job to source out some of the best of the best. It arrived in a compact returnable cool box, filled with ice packs and came right to my door along with my weekly vegetable box delivery. (I do have to say that their delivery people are polite and very personable, or at least that's been my experience. That says a lot in my books . . . ) I've already put in my order for my Christmas Turkey and my Christmas Vegetable box. I'm taking the year off this year! There's no way I'm battling my way through the crazy line ups in the grocery store in the few days before Christmas! I'm having it all delivered right to my door from the good folks at Abel and Cole. I know . . . you might think I am taking somewhat of a chance, but in all honesty folks, they haven't let me down yet!
Mind you a good piece of meat is only as good as the method used to cook it. If you don't prepare it properly, well . . . it wouldn't matter if it was organic, non organic, an expensive cut, or a cheap cut . . . badly cooked meat, is badly cooked meat. And very unappetizing and unappealing all round! Who wants to eat a dry, tasteless piece of leather . . . not me!!! It's taken me years and a lot of experimentation to come up with this fool proof way of cooking my roasts. If you follow my directions to the letter, you will be rewarded with a beautifully cooked piece of meat, full of flavour and tender, tender . . . tender . . . EVERY time! Trust me.
*Perfect Roast Beef*
This is more of a technique than it is a recipe. There is a lot more to cooking a roast than just banging into an oven. Whilst it is also very simple to cook, there is a proper way to do it and helps and tips that can produce the perfect roast every time. (if you follow them!) First of all, allow approximately 350g or 12 ounces of meat per portion.
8 to 10 pound wing, rib or strip loin roast of beef
2 TBS prepared English Mustard
1 TBS maple syrup
4 TBS water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS of beef dripping
I think it's best to cook meat always from room temperature so plan ahead and take your meat out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it. Pre-heat your oven to 250*C/480*F.
Mix together the water, mustard and maple syrup. Massage this mixture into the meat on all sides. This concoction will help to flavour and colour your meat. (Trust me here.) After you have massaged most of it in, or as much as you can, season your meat liberally all over with the salt and pepper. The fat will largely wash off a large portion of it so more is better. Always season just prior to cooking it as well, to prevent the salt from drawing out the blood and juices.
Heat a heavy based roasting tray over high heat with the dripping inside. (If you have no dripping a knob of butter will do.) Once the fat is hot, lower the beef into it to commence the browning process, lightly browning it on all sides.
Lower the oven temperature to 220*C/425*F. Roast the beef in it for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste with the pan juices. Lower the temperature to 180*C/350*F. Return the beef to the oven and roast for a further 15 minutes per pound of beef, plys an extra 15 minutes. The end result will be a perfectly cooked joint, pink in the middle without being overdone.
Once the meat is cooked allow a further 30 minutes resting time in a turned off oven or a warm place.
This resting time is very important. This helps the juices and the temperature of your meat to stabilize and relax, which helps to make the meat much more succulent and easier to carve. When you cut into hot meat alot of the delicious juices escape, and we really don't want that.
I often roast my meat on a bed of root vegetables . . . chunky carrots, parsnips, onions. This helps to raise the meat above the fat in the roasting tin and prevents it from frying instead of roasting, not to mention it gives a lovely flaour to the juices and the gravy!
To make a delicious gravy, add some liquid to the pan, once the meat has been removed and set aside to warm. (leave the vegetables in the pan) Your liquid can be some beef stock, or even a bit of red wine. It's your choice. Cook and stir, scraping up from the bottom to get all your brown bits etc. Strain this into a saucepan, removing all the solids. Skim any fat off of the top. I then shake some flour together with some water in a jar until it's smooth and I strain this back into the pan juices in the saucepan. I then cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Leave to cook over low heat for at least five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place in a gravy boat and pass with the meat.