Getting together for a meal is a primal and necessary part of all cultures. There are traditional meals and dishes for each and every special occasion around the world. Maybe it’s BBQ on the 4th of July in the USA, or paella in Spain. Where ever you might be, there is a meal out there meant to bring everybody together.
In Ireland and England a special dinner might consist of, roast beef with vegetables, potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings. Those of you that have had the pleasure of indulging in this meal know how satisfying and complimentary the components are, when executed properly. Those of you that have not should consider giving it a shot. It’s magical. When eating this meal all conversation may cease. You will most likely notice your guests in a trance-like state, carefully ripping their crispy, yet gooey, Yorkshire puddings to dip in the gravy as they are happily chewing. This is normal and, in fact, means you did it right.
Speaking of puddings, it is highly advisable to double or triple the amount of puddings you make. Yorkshire puddings are not just for dipping in gravy after all, and can be enjoyed with jam or all on their own. You should also consider adding a green vegetable and or any other side dish you like. Leftovers can be turned into meals for the next couple days with ease.
Pulling off large meals is all about timing, and staging your components to come together. A roast beef dinner can be very tricky as you need a lot of time to cook, rest, and prepare all the different elements. Don’t let all of the steps intimidate you. Just roll up your sleeves and be sure handle each item with care.
You got this!
Roast Beef and Gravy with Veggies and Yorkshire Puddings
3-3.5 lbs trimmed and tied beef roast (I prefer a rib-eye roast)
2 large yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium shallot, minced (for gravy)
4 cups red wine (for gravy)
8 cups beef broth (for gravy, canned is fine)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (for gravy)
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 sticks celery roughly chopped
6-8 medium red potatoes, halved
6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
3-4 springs fresh rosemary (reserve extra for garnish)
3-4 fresh springs fresh thyme (reserve extra for garnish)
3-4 bay leaves
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Yorkshire Pudding Batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature & beaten
3/4 cup water
Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in water, milk, and eggs. Whisk together vigorously until frothy.
Allow your beef to rest on the counter top covered for about one 1 hour prior to cooking. In a large bowl mix up your Yorkshire pudding batter and set aside to rest on the counter (recipe included above).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place all of your vegetables except potatoes in the bottom of your roasting pan and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside while your oven heats up. Season your roast liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven over a medium high heat and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Brown your roast on all sides (about 1 minute per side) then carefully remove and place on top of your vegetable in the roasting pan (Save pan aside for gravy). Arrange your potatoes around the outside of your roast. Remove the browning pan from the heat and place your roast in the oven. You will need to cook your roast for about an hour or 15 minutes per pound of the roast.
Remove your roast just before desired temperature and transfer it to a cutting board. place a tent of tin foil over the top of your roast and rest for about 15 minutes. While its resting, you will make your Yorkshire puddings and finish your gravy.
Place your browning pan back over a medium heat and deglaze with your red wine and beef broth. Scrape all of the caramelization off of the bottom of the pan and make sure it gets incorporated into your gravy. Mix in the pan with a whisk to break up the pieces of caramelization and bring to a hard simmer. Allow your gravy to reduce by half stirring constantly then reduce heat to a low simmer. Reduce by an additional 1/3 or to desired consistency then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly on stove top. Whisk in your butter vigorously prior to service (once puddings are finished.
Remove drippings from roasting pan carefully and spoon into a 12 hole non-stick muffin tin to cover the bottom of each compartment. Place your muffin tins in the oven and allow to get very hot and start to sizzle. Remove the pan from the oven when the drippings are sizzling and carefully divide your pudding batter in to each muffin hole in your tin. Place the muffin tin directly back into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes before placing them on a plate lined with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Set aside for service.
Now it’s time to finish your gravy.
Once everything is ready to serve, it’s time to plate it all up. Remove your herb sprigs and place your vegetables into a serving dish. Place your roast beef on a carving board and garnish with any additional fresh herbs you have left over (optional). Your Yorkshire puddings should be ready to go and you will want to pour your gravy into a gravy boat, or serving bowl with ladle. Carve your roast for each guest to the desired thickness. If someone wants a piece that is more well done, offer up an end cut.
Serve with red wine and the satisfaction of a job well done!
If you are interested in checking out some other traditional cuisines, here are a few cool cultural events listed on Brown Paper Tickets!
Saturday, December 14th | 2013 Tamale Making Classes – Seattle, Washington
Class fee: $75 per person per class – includes recipe and one dozen uncooked tamales. Class fees go to support our Senior Nutrition & Wellness Program that provides balanced daily congregate meals, daily social and educational activities, exercise classes three times a week, and delivered meals to homebound seniors each week.
Saturday, December 14th | The Starving Artist with FishLads of GR Presents: The Feast of the Seven Fishes- A Holiday Chef’s Dinner – Grand Rapids, Michigan
This holiday season, The Starving Artist is teaming up with Fish Lads of Grand Rapids to present a traditional Southern Italian La Vigilia – a Feast of the Seven Fishes. This event will be a very specially curated chef dinner of formal and family-style dishes, presented in nine exquisite courses of classical Campagnese Christmas and holiday fare.
Sunday, December 15th | Santa Lucia Festival – Sacramento, California
The rich Christmas traditions of Scandinavia come together in this beautiful mid-winter celebration of Santa Lucia. The pageantry of the eldest daughter bearing a wreath of burning candles on her head, the table laden with delicious Scandinavian fare and the delight of singing and dancing around the Christmas tree.
Saturday, December 14th | Ole Time Grand Market – Jamaica, New York
Grand Market is a long standing tradition in Jamaica that takes place after the usual Christmas morning service or on the eve of Christmas Day. The whole community would be out in their numbers participating in a variety of games, and competitions for all ages, lots of gifts including many toys were on sale from brightly decorated stalls, there was food and drink in abundance, and a great time was had by the entire family throughout the day.
Saturday, December 14th | Pueblo Grande Indian Market & Kick Off Event – Phoenix, Arizona
This year, the Auxiliary worked extensively with an advisory group of members from various American Indian communities. Together they will present cultural demonstrations of art, examples of every day activities past and present, along with stories, music and songs that add to the richness of the art, entertainment and food that will be offered at the Market.
Image credit: Jeremy Keith