Standing rib roast with potatoes, brussels sprouts and Yorkshire pudding
2020. A year that’s grinding its way past notable occasions to its inevitable end in 125 days. A year of broken dreams, fear, frustration and grief. Grief for all we’ve lost; grief for what we might yet lose. For most of us, a year like no other.
I’m not a great one for celebrating those special occasion days I have always believed to be owned by the greeting card industry. Father’s Day, however, does have a special and personal significance for me. Father’s Day 2012 was the last time either of my father’s daughters saw him alive. Alas, it was not I who visited but my sister. As always, I had the “excuse” of being at work, cooking for other people’s fathers. By that stage, Dad was frail of body, feeble of mind. Propped up in a nursing home chair, dutifully opening his mouth to accept the chocolate pudding my sister spooned in. He’d had a pretty rocky few weeks before this, and my sister reported that he had a little more spark about him on Father’s Day. The spark didn’t last long, however, and eight days later he was gone.
2012 seems an eternity ago. Dad was in a regional nursing home, sequestered away in the locked dementia area. The facility was staffed by jolly, kind and helpful local women and men. I never felt that his care was lacking. Eight years later, with the aged-care sector failures laid out in plain sight due to an insidious pandemic, I think wistfully of my father’s last days and weep for those who are in care now and the devastating impact this virus is having on them and their families.
All this gives me great cause to actually celebrate Father’s Day 2020 when it arrives next weekend. To cook a meal and raise a glass to a dad who may not have been perfect, but whom I loved and who loved me unconditionally.
My dad’s Father’s Day dish of choice was roast beef. Like many things, the concept of that dish has changed in subtle ways over the years as culinary trends come and go. Dad would have had roast topside, a cut that seems less and less in favour with the modern generation. I imagine that for the young dads of today, the go-to cut for roast beef would be a standing rib roast. Or maybe they’d rather just grill a couple of aged rib eye steaks. But I stand by my own family traditions here, and have gone with the roast. Roasted standing rib, potatoes, brussels sprouts and a Yorkshire pudding. One for my dad, and for any other dads out there who love roast beef.
For the Yorkshire puddings
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 125ml milk
- 125ml water
For the roast
- 1 x 2kg rib eye roast
- salt flakes
- grapeseed or olive oil
- 1kg sebago or King Edward potatoes
- 500g brussels sprouts
- 2 tbsp horseradish
- 200ml crème fraîche
- Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Combine the milk and water and gradually add the mixture to the flour and eggs, incorporating it all into a smooth batter. Stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Rub down the beef with salt flakes and freshly ground pepper mixed with a little olive oil and then truss the meat with string to hold it in shape. Place it in a small roasting pan, fat cap side up, scatter with some garlic and rosemary and drizzle with a little oil. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and cook for about 25 minutes (to get good colour on the outside), then turn the heat down to 160°C and cook for 60 minutes. You want the internal temperature of the beef to be 52°C for medium rare.
- Chop the potatoes and toss in seasoning and a little oil. About 15 minutes or so before the rib eye is ready, place the potatoes in an oiled roasting dish and put it in the oven.
- When the beef is ready, remove it from the oven (don’t remove the potatoes), cover it with foil and allow it to rest.
- Turn the temperature up to 230°C and place a pan in the oven for the Yorkshire pudding. When the pan is hot, add a little dripping or oil, pour in the Yorkshire pudding batter and close the oven door. Cook for about 30 minutes. (As I have two ovens at home, I make a large Yorkshire pudding that takes 40 minutes to cook. With a single oven it is more practical to make small ones so the potatoes don’t overcook. Make sure you leave the oven door closed for the first 20 minutes.)
- For the final 10 minutes, add the brussels sprouts to the potato roasting dish and return it to the oven.
- While the pudding and vegetables are cooking, mix the horseradish with the crème fraîche.
- Carve the meat and serve with the Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and horseradish cream. Some English mustard never goes astray either.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on August 29, 2020 as "Standing orders".
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