Recipes: roast beef, gravy and perfect Yorkshire puddings

Make Sunday roast a breeze with Elaine Lemm’s recipes for Perfect Yorkshire Puddings (every time) and Roast Beef with Gravy

Perfect Yorkshire puddings (every time)

Can’t make Yorkshire puddings? No such thing as can’t! They are so easy and this recipe is foolproof. Follow the instructions and I promise you’ll have the best puds ever.

Serves 6

4 large, fresh eggs, measured into a jug

Whatever the eggs measure, prepare the same quantity of milk and the same of plain flour

Pinch of salt

Lard, beef dripping or vegetable oil for cooking

Heat the oven to the highest temperature possible, not exceeding 230°C/Gas 8 or the fat may burn.

Pour the eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl, add the pinch of salt and whisk thoroughly with an electric or hand whisk until foamy. Leave to stand for about ten minutes.

Sieve the flour on to the milk and egg mixture and beat again to create a lump-free batter resembling thick cream. Pour the batter through a sieve into another bowl or jug. Leave the batter to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours (the longer the better).

Place a pea-sized piece of lard, dripping or ½ tsp vegetable oil in a Yorkshire pudding tin (4 x 5cm/2” hole tin) or 12-hole muffin tin. Heat in the oven until the fat is lightly smoking.

Give the batter another good whisk, adding 2 tbsp of cold water, then fill a third of each section of the tin with batter and return quickly to the oven.

Leave to cook until risen and golden brown, around 20 minutes. Repeat to use up any batter.

Roast beef with gravy

Let’s keep our butchers’ shops going by buying great hunks of meat for Sunday lunch. What better than beef? The best joints for roast beef are rib, sirloin or fillet. Rib works well, as usually it will be cooked on the bone, making for a tastier piece of beef, but both sirloin and fillet are very good.

Choose a dark coloured, well-hung piece of beef with a thick covering of fat and marbled meat for added flavour and to prevent the joint from drying out during cooking.

To feed six with beef to spare for sandwiches you will need:

2.5 kg with bone in, 1.5kg boned

2 tsp dry English mustard powder

2 tsp plain flour

Salt and pepper

For the gravy

1/2 glass red wine or port

500ml/1 pt meat or vegetable stock

1 tsp ice-cold butter

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F /Gas 7

Mix the mustard powder and plain flour together and dust the surface of fat on the beef with it, and season with salt and pepper.

Place the beef fat side up in a roomy roasting tin. Place in the centre of the hot oven. After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5.

Cook as follows:

  • Rare: 11 mins per 450g/lb or 60°C
  • Medium: 14 mins per 450g/lb or 70°C
  • Well done: 16 mins per 450g/lb or 80°C

Once cooked to your liking, remove the beef from the oven, keep the roasting tin to one side and wrap the meat loosely in aluminium foil and put to one side to rest and create a soft, tender piece of meat. Twenty minutes should be long enough but up to an hour is better. Use any juices released for the gravy.

Pour away any excess fat then place the roasting pan on the stove top over a high heat until the meat juices begin to bubble but not burn.

Pour in the red wine and scrape all the juices from the bottom of the pan, reducing to a sticky glaze. Do not leave the pan unattended as the reduction happens very quickly. Add the stock and stir well.

Strain the gravy through a fine sieve into a saucepan and reduce by one third. Add any juices released from the resting beef. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.

Add the butter in tiny pieces, shaking the pan gently until the all the butter is absorbed. Keep warm until needed.

Slice your beef, and serve with fresh veg, roast potatoes, horseradish sauce, Yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy.