The English are so associated with roast beef that the French call them les rosbifs. A BBC poll in 2004 asked 1,000 Britons what people, places, activities, or characteristics set the country apart. Almost three-fourths of the respondents listed roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, together with fish
and chips and tea, as the things that are most quintessentially British. (The queen came in third.)
Beef also remains “far and away the most popular American meat,” say Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker in the 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking (Scribner). This version of Britain’s favorite meal is ideally served on a leisurely Sunday late afternoon.
Recipes of the week
Count on two servings per pound for bone-in roasts, three servings per pound for boneless roasts. The most tender are the standing rib roast and the rolled rib roast. If you choose a standing roast, have your butcher remove the shoulder bone and chine bone, and then tie the chine back to
keep the contour of the meat and to protect the eye of the roast during cooking. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees. Having removed the roast from the refrigerator 2 hours before, place the meat fat side up on a rack in a greased shallow roasting pan. Do not cover, and don’t add liquid. Put the
roast in the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and roast 18 to 20 minutes to the pound for medium-rare. A thermometer should read between 125 degrees and 130 degrees for rare, and 135 degrees to 140 degrees for medium. Let rest.
Meat pan gravy
If desired, you may strain the drippings first and remove excess fat, then return some of the fat to the pan to absorb the flour. Remove the meat from pan; place on a platter and keep warm. Pour off all but 2 tbsp drippings or fat from the pan. Blend into them 1 to 2 tbsp all-purpose flour.
Whisk until the roux is well combined and smooth. Stirring constantly, add degreased pan juices plus enough stock, wine, beer, cream, milk, or water to make 1 cup.
Simmer until thickened, up to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Strain the gravy if desired, and reheat before serving.
Have all the ingredients at room temperature; heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sift into a bowl:
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Make a well in the center, and pour in 1/2 cup milk
Stir in the milk. Beat in 2 large eggs, beaten
Add 1/2 cup water
Beat the batter until large bubbles rise to the surface. (The batter can be covered and refrigerated for 1 hour, then beat it again before cooking.) Pour 1/4 inch hot beef drippings or melted butter into a 9 x 12-inch baking dish or 6 regular muffin cups. Heat the dish or pan in the oven until hot. Pour in
the batter and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer, until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 6