Happy Holidays to everyone! Now that the presents are bought and hopefully wrapped (did you get any of my Holiday Gift Ideas?), it’s time to settle down and enjoy the celebration, especially if it involves a great family meal. Once upon a time, in my family, we had turkey on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, which made me really bored with that meat. Then, for reasons that are still not clear to me, my mom made a change, and we started having Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce for the latter feast. With the exception of one sibling who doesn’t like red meat at all, there haven’t really been any complaints about this switch.
This year, to accommodate various schedules, our actual Christmas dinner was held last night. When I floated this meal as a suggestion for the gathering, it met with little resistance and several “yums.” The other components of the dinner, like the vegetables and desserts, are negotiable, but the core essence remains the same: a rib-in roast cooked slowly to a lovely rare texture, rich custardy Yorkshire pudding, and creamy home-made horseradish sauce on the side. For me, this is the quintessential family holiday dinner, sitting around a table with my siblings, parents, and other family members. Sometimes, I think about preparing it at another point in the year, but I can never quite make myself do it. It wouldn’t feel quite the same.
As you can see, this card with the instructions has been used quite a bit. It’s tagged as part of the Recipe Box Project I started a few years ago (see the first post for the details). I’m not sure where the recipe came from originally and haven’t been able to find it on line to attribute it. I’ve made some adjustments to it, as I’m sure my mom did as well. I consider it part of the evolutionary process.
At least two cooks and then anywhere from two to four other people (not including the little ones) were in the kitchen at any one time, and that’s not including my father who poked his head in from time-to-time to offer “advice” or make a comment. This process did not end up, by some miracle, in bloodshed, tears, or burnt food. We even managed to get dinner on the table within 30 minutes of what I had originally guess-timated as our start time. I consider that to be a success, even if some folks needed to "pre-ssert" to make it through to then (photo above). Maybe this is a meal that you can try with your family for next year to make a part of your holiday traditions as it is for mine.
Buon appetito e Buon Natale!
Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce
Rib-in roast of beef (you want some fat left on the meat)
1-2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground thyme
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Let roast come to room temperature. Rub all over on all sides with the salt, pepper, and thyme (add more as necessary).
Roast in large pan on rack for 20 minutes per pound for rare. Let roast stand for 10 minutes before carving. Do not discard any of the fat that is in the bottom of the pan. If making Yorkshire Pudding, tent the meat with foil to keep warm as pudding cooks. Also, do not be offended if any of your relatives decide that they need to cook the meat more in the microwave or on the stove. This is also an annual tradition in my family.
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. whole milk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Create a well in the bowl and pour in the milk and the eggs. Whisk everything together thoroughly so that there are no lumps in the batter.
Cover and chill batter for two hours. After removing roast from pan, pour batter into same pan with the beef drippings (melted fat)*. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake batter for 10-15 minutes more until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with Roast Beef and Horseradish Sauce.
*There needs to be between two to three tablespoons of fat for this to cook this properly. You can also add melted bacon fat to the pan to make up the missing amount if the fat from the meat didn’t add up to that much (which is what I had to do last night).
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 c. plain breadcrumbs
1/2 lb. horseradish, freshly grated plus 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
OR 2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Combine the sugar, mustard, breadcrumbs and horseradish together in a small bowl. Fold in cream until everything is mixed thoroughly. Chill until a few minutes before serving. Serve alongside Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.
Kitchen Witch Tip:
Here’s how the sequence of events played out last night, to assist you with your meal preparation. First, we put the Roast Beef in the oven, as it was going to take about three hours to cook it. Then, at about the 30-minute mark, I made the Yorkshire Pudding batter and put that in the refrigerator. At about an hour out from the meat being done, I made the Horseradish Sauce so that it could chill and the flavors could meld. When the meat came out of the oven, it was placed on a cutting board and tented with foil to stay warm while the Yorkshire Pudding was baking.
By the time the pudding came out of the oven, the Horseradish Sauce was on the table, someone had started to carve the meat for us all to start filling our plates. Pies and vegetables and other sides were prepared during same time as this whole process, as my parents have two ovens so we could cook two parts of the meal at the same time. If you have just the one oven, as I do, I’d recommend making the pies in advance and just reheating them that day.
A version of this entry is also cross-posted at Blogher.
A version of this entry is also cross-posted at Blogher.