Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
A great tradition in Britain is that of the Sunday lunch and a nice joint of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. I have many memories as a kid of us sitting around the table at our Sunday lunch. Invariably waiting for my father to get back from golf, so we could eat our Sunday lunch. My Mum was (and still is) a great cook and would always do us proud.
The roast meat was lamb, chicken, pork, beef or whatever that week had been on offer. And the side dishes would be a combination of roast potatoes, greens, carrots, parsnips and other vegetables. There was normally some other strange English invention on the table like bread or mint sauce or stuffing, all depending on the meat.
When it was roast beef it would of course be the Yorkshire pudding. Yorshire pudding is not a pudding, but is in fact a sort of pancake mix that is cooked in the oven. Traditionally it would always be served with a roast beef lunch, and is great with beef gravy.
We would scoff ourselves full, a bit like at Christmas, and then relax on the couch and invariably fall asleep!
All my friends at school and University also had a similar Sunday lunch tradition and it was interesting to see how it varied from house to house. I studied in the North of England, where it seemed to be a challenge for my friend’s mothers to feed us all until we popped.
Some of my friend’s Mums really put on the most incredible spreads. The table top would be covered in different types of vegetable: boiled, fried, roasted, baked – everything was possible. I have some very happy memories of those days and the long-lasting friendships that were made.
This was an important part of growing up. I remember thinking I would always like to make this a thing in my own house when I was older. These days, when all my family is together, which is unfortunately not very often, I love to get everyone around the table and give them a roast dinner.
Dinner or lunch?
Whether you call it ‘dinner’ or ‘lunch’ depends a bit on where you are from in the UK. Northerners tend to call the meal in the middle of the day ‘dinner’ and the evening meal ‘tea’. Whereas down South the meal in the middle of the day is ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ or ‘supper’ would be the evening meal. Where the cut off point for this is I do not know. But suspect it must be around the Midlands somewhere.
In any case I am originally a Southerner that studied up North, so am still a bit confused. Or bilingual you might say!
How long to cook roast beef?
This depends on the cut of meat. In these photos I have a 1,5 kg piece of silverside. For silverside we cook at high temperature of 220C for 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes per 500g of meat at a lower temperature of 180C. So in this case a total of about 1hr and 20 minutes.
Silverside is maybe not the best cut to use for a Sunday Roast. It is really better suited to slow cooking, but it was a cheap cut on offer. If you can afford the more expensive cuts, then sirloin, top rump and fillet or rib would be better.
Still, this fed us for a few days and was pretty tasty.
How to make roast beef
- 1 nice cut of beef
- Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Some carrots and onions for a trivet
- Beef OXO cube
- Bisto Gravy Granules
- Salt and pepper
- Bring your joint up to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
- Then rub the outside of the beef in mustard, vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut some onions and carrots to make a trivet in the baking tray, to rest the beef on while cooking.
- Place the beef on the trivet, add a cup of water to the baking tray and put in the pre-heated oven. Cook for 20 minutes then cook at 180C for 20 minutes per 500g of meat.
- When it is finished remove from oven and rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- While the beef is resting, make the gravy. Use the juices from the meat and the vegetables from the trivet and use the baking tray on the hub. Add some water to the tray and add a beef OXO cube some gravy granules. [Some people think using gravy granules is scandalous. Purists would just use the meat juices and some flour. But I think it helps give a better overall flavour, which is important with the potatoes and the yorkies.]
- Keep heating until the gravy is of the right consistency and then filter out the vegetables and transfer to a gravy jug.
- While you are making the gravy you should also be making the yorkshire puddings. Crack the oven up to 230C and add the batter (recipe to follow in separate post) into some non-stick tins, which have been pre-loaded with some oil in each hole.
- Whilst cooking the puddings the oven MUST stay closed or they will not rise properly.
- In the meantime you will have prepared whatever vegetables you are serving as accompaniments. Certainly my roast potatoes and garlic carrots are always served together with this dish.
Carve up the roast carefully – not too thick. Serve up together with roast potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire pudding and gravy as a minimum. But maybe include some honey glazed parsnips, some cabbage and some other greens of your choosing (peas or beans). Some mustard (Dijon or English) should be served separately.