On my most recent grocery shop, I found myself craving a roast dinner. It is pretty safe to say that I love to cook but I have not made myself a roast in years. It was time. After next to no discussion about the topic, I picked up a small beef joint from the section of the store where the products are close to expiry. Wait, before judging – this joint was meant to be almost £14 and I picked it up for just over £3 because it was ‘best before’ two days later. Grabbing that and some Yorkshire puddings, carrots, potatoes and assorted greens, I was officially ready to make the dish that epitomises what it is to be British – Roast Beef on a Sunday afternoon!
- 1 bargain beef joint (about 450g)
- 1 red onion
- Some cloves of garlic
- Herbs and spices for seasoning
- Yorkshire puddings
- Gravy of choice
There are honestly so many ways to cook a beef joint I did not know which to pick. In typical Ellie fashion, I ultimately decided to calculate my cooking time using Google and then effectively winged the rest of the recipe.
My biggest fear with cooking beef is always that it will come out too dry and taste like rubber – whether I am cooking burgers, steaks or anything in between – beef equals scary. This is also why I picked up a bargain piece of meat so if it did ultimately turn out to be horrendous, I had not wasted a small fortune on a prime cut.
I took the beef out of the fridge about an hour before working with it. I read somewhere that it should be room temperature because putting cold beef into a hot oven apparently takes the beef into ‘shock’ and leads it to be dry and basically a disaster. I sprinkled a little flour over the joint before putting it in the oven and drizzled some olive oil over it, rubbing in some herbs and spices as I went. Flour (and the fat in the meat) makes the joint develop a jacket of juices when cooking so I was wiling to try pretty much anything to avoid a parched piece of meat emerging from the oven.
I put it in the oven on 220’C for 20 minutes wrapped in foil and then reduced the temperature to 180′ for a further 25 minutes. I took the beef out of the oven once cooked to a medium rare state and left it to rest until the rest of the dinner was ready – which should be at least half an hour before slicing.
With the peeled potatoes boiling, the sliced carrots cooking and Yorkshire puddings waiting, I steamed the greens in the microwave and added some extra herb butter for taste.
As it turned out, I was pretty impressed with my attempt on a beef roast dinner. Now I have a simple method established, I would like to try something a little larger to try and prove to myself that this was not a one off. In case you cannot tell, I had very high levels of self doubt around this meal and I was very happy with the final outcome of the dish.
I have heard many people struggle with beef. Have you ever cooked it before? Do you have any tips to keep it juicy?