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Roast beef is most commonly eaten on Sundays throughout the UK as a family gathering. This tradition is centuries old and is still going strong up to the present day.
The Sunday Roast Dinner originated in England as a meal to be eaten after church on Sunday. Eating a large meal following church services is common to all of the continent of Europe as with other Christian countries, but the Sunday Roast meal is uniquely English. On Sundays, all types of meat and dairy produce are allowed to be eaten.
There are two historical points on the origins of the modern Sunday Roast. In the late 1700s during the industrial revolution in the United Kingdom, families would place a cut of meat into the oven as they got ready for church. They would then add in vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and parsnips before going to church on a Sunday morning. When they returned from the church the dinner was all but ready. The juices from the meat and vegetables were used to make a stock or gravy to pour on top of the dinner.
Joints taken from the Sirloin & Fore Rib command the highest price point but are truly worth it, cuts such as Wing & Fore Rib of beef are real centrepieces for the table, Sirloin Joints & butcher tied Fillets are pure luxury.
The benefits of roasting beef on the bone are added flavour profile as the beef roasts its naturally boasted by the goodness the bone will produce, less shrinkage & better retention of moisture, it can be more tricky to carve though following the basic principle of carving at the same angles as the bone is facing will make the task a lot simpler.
Resting time is paramount & I would suggest minimum 10 minutes per 450g resting time
Topside: A very traditional, affordable cut which was my family treat on a Sunday, was usually served overcooked & sliced extremely thin to go around the table. It has a very traditional beef flavour and produces a great gravy from the roasting juices. I always serve this roast very traditionally, with seasonal vegetables, Yorkshires & chopped lettuce tossed in a little vinegar, salt & sugar ( a very Northern thing!).
Rump: A mid-priced cut that's big on flavour, boasting rich, caramel flavours and takes to additional maturation really well. It has good levels of fat and is a beef connoisseurs favourite. I serve this with more varied accompaniments such as a gratin dauphinoise, roast carrots with anise & rich red wine gravy
Sirloin: A more expensive cut, for a special occasion, this super tender joint is easy to carve, consistent for cooking with good levels of marbling and a good covering of fat sealing in the juices as it roasts. This perfect roasting joint is best served with classic horseradish, buttered brassicas, roasties & Yorkshires, plus, any left over makes the most amazing roast beef sandwiches.
|Gas Mark||Centigrade °C||Fan Assisted ° C||Fahrenheit °F||Description|
Core meat temperatures for Roast Beef
|Core Temperature||°C From oven||°C After resting||°F From oven||°F After resting||To Touch|
The best way is to press the thickest part of the joint with your index finger. If the joint is soft to touch it will be rare, the more firm to the touch the more well done the joint will be cooked.
You can test also test your joint with tongs. Gently prod the roast; rare is very soft, medium rare is soft, medium is springy but soft, medium well is firm and well done is very firm.
Testing with this method as you get close to the required cooking time is always a safe option to avoid overcooking it.
The instructions below work for all three of my favourite Joints; Topside & Rump & Sirloin.
|Roast the joint for 20 minutes @ 240°C or 220°C fan assisted then reduce heat to 180°C or 160°C fan assisted for every 450g (lb) thereafter|
|Rare 10-12 minutes per 450g|
|Medium rare 12-15 minutes per 450g|
|Medium 15-18 minutes per 450g|
|Well done 20-25 minutes per 450g|
The longer and sharper the blade of your knife, the better. If you do not have a knife specifically for carving, a large, very sharp, serrated bread knife will do the job although the slices will not look as attractive.
A large carving fork helps to hold the joint steady while carving.
Choose a heavy chopping, preferably wooden with a groove set around the perimeter to capture any juices. Set the board on damp kitchen paper, J cloth or a clean damp tea towel so the board does not move when carving.
If you are using a traditional carving knife, get into the habit of sharpening it before every use. Sharpening a blunt knife is really difficult & takes years of practice.
There is a wide range of easy to use knife sharpeners on the market which work very well, my favourite is the Chantry Knife Sharpener.
We've all at some point heard the saying always carve against the grain.
The grain means the visible layers of muscle fibres that hold the meat together and run in one direction, lengthways along the joint of meat.
If you were to carve with the grain you would see long streaks of fatty sinew and each slice would be chewy. Carving against the grain results in tender slices.
First and foremost, relax. Do not clench the knife but use a light grip. Use a long slicing motion and let the knife do the work.
Try to glide your way through each slice in one or two motions to avoid shredding the meat. Always position the carving fork between you and the knife to avoid any accidents.
For the Gravy
For the Yorkshire Puddings
Serves 6 / prep 10 mins / cook 25 mins / easy
For the Horseradish