Roast beef is the quintessential Sunday lunch meal. I always cook it on a rack with the potatoes underneath so that I can economise on roasting tins.
Preparation Time takes about 5 minutes or so
Cooking Time is variable depending on the size of your joint of beef, but I always start my meat on a higher temperature for 15 minutes and then cook for 15 minutes per 500g for rare beef, or 18 minutes for medium beef. If you really insist on well done meat, you should allow 25 minutes per 500g.
Makes as many servings as the size of the joint will allow. The recipe below served about 4 people with leftovers and the joint weighed between 1500g and 2kg.
Ingredients I joint of beef, whichever cut you prefer, on or off the bone.
A couple or three of tablespoons of olive oil
One or two tablespoons of Dijon mustard
Floury roasting potatoes, depending on how many you are serving
Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas 9.
Smear the fatty surfaces of the meat with the mustard and place the joint on a roasting rack in a roasting tin.
When the oven reaches temperature put the meat in to cook at the higher temperature for 15 minutes with a generous glug of olive oil.
Meanwhile fill a medium or large saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil.
Peel the potatoes and cut into serving sized pieces. I like to cut medium sized potatoes length wise.
When the water reaches a boil add the potatoes and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until they can be pierced with a knife but are still firm in the middle.
Drain them in a colander and then give them a good shake to roughen up the outsides; I do this in the colander but you can return them to the pan.
When the meat has cooked for the first 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C/Gas 4 and add the parboiled potatoes to the tin. Use the meat juices to baste the meat and the parboiled potatoes.
Check at regular intervals, turning the potatoes and basting the meat.
Remove the beef to a carving platter after the calculated cooking time and leave to rest for 15 or 20 minutes.
Turn up the oven temperature to about 200°C/Gas 6 to crisp up the potatoes.
Carve the meat and serve with the potatoes and your choice of vegetables and gravy.
My butcher prepares a joint called côte de boeuf, which is a fore rib with the bones pared back and a good layer of fat removed and tied round the outside of the cut. It is superb when roasted as above, and equally good served cold.