The Romeo of Roasts

21 June 2013

This is a contribution from my friend Judi, on the culinary sex appeal of the king of roasts.

I admit to a love affair with a particularly handsome, juicy and succulent piece of meat. I cannot enter a butcher’s store without my eyes lingering on a tantalising standing rib roast of beef. Thankfully, now is the time to indulge my passion as the winter cold entices me to crank up the oven, throw frugality to the wind and adorn my table with this feast of flesh.

Hailing from Yorkshire, the home of the Sunday roast, I treat the ritual of this dish with great respect. The meat must be pink and seasoned only with salt and pepper – perhaps a little mustard powder if I fancy a bit of spice. To cook to perfection I suggest using a meat thermometer, as one cannot risk ruining this king of cuts. And let him rest for at least half an hour out of the oven before devouring. Your reward will be tender, succulent slices.

Of course, the beast is the star but no roast can be taken seriously without an entourage of accompaniments. I suggest pert carrots, broccoli with a tiny bite and tender Brussels sprouts – all steamed not boiled. If I am feeling particularly decadent I will make a cauliflower cheese with a scattering of pecorino for extra sharpness.

Roast potatoes make a wonderful companion to any roast but seem to flourish when snuggled next to a resplendent rib, parboiled and massaged with just a touch of rosemary and garlic. The juices from the meat add a gooey, savoury tinge to these golden parcels. If it’s a special occasion I always nestle in a few parsnips for an earthy touch. A cold roast potato dipped in leftover gravy can be a wonderful midnight snack.

In the world of roasting, gravy is god and I can’t understand why so many people find it confronting. A tablespoon of flour mixed into the sensuous juices from the beef with splashes of stock and (my secret ingredient) a teaspoon of vegemite gives wonderful results. And don’t be stingy. A dearth of gravy can ruin any roast which needs to be lubricated to bring out its best.

Finally, no standing rib of beef is happy without its voluptuous partner – the Yorkshire pudding. It’s pancake mix taken to the limits of puffy perfection. Note that the fat used has to be beef dripping or duck fat and your oven must be as hot as hell. All Yorkshire women have their own recipe and it would take a bit of arm twisting to get mine….If you’re feeling frisky add a bit of horseradish at the table or dress up your veg with a smothering of butter. This is truly the best bit of bone anyone could ever hope for. Enjoy.

Words: Judi Knight

Image: cumi&ciki