Sean Connolly's recipe for this British classic is just lovely. The meat becomes tender and full of flavour and the puddings act as little cups for the gravy, which is made with a good pinot. Yorkshire puddings were traditionally served as a filler before the main roast but they make an excellent accompaniment. The secret of the puddings is to make sure the fat in the muffin tins is smoking before pouring in the batter. If you don’t have any dripping on hand, speak to your butcher who could give you some beef fat to render down.
- 2 tsp plain flour
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 kg wagyu rump or scotch fillet
- rosemary sprigs
- 2–3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 red onions, halved
- 4 large carrots, halved
- 8 garlic cloves
- thyme sprigs
- sea salt
- 1 litre beef stock
- ½ bottle good-quality pinot noir
- 200 g plain flour
- 10 g salt
- 4 eggs
- 450 ml full-cream milk
- duck fat or goose fat, preferably dripping
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 30 minutes
Combine the flour, mustard powder and pepper and dust over the surface of the meat. Stud the meat with rosemary. Do not season with salt as it has a tendency to draw the moisture out.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat some of the oil in a frying pan and seal the beef on all sides, allowing it to caramelise a little. In a large roasting tray add the remaining oil and the onion, carrot and garlic and place the beef on top. Sprinkle with thyme and salt and roast for 1½ hours until medium–rare.
Meanwhile, prepare the puddings. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the salt. Beat the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the egg and milk mixture one-third at a time, whisking vigorously to incorporate. Once the batter is smooth, rest it in the refrigerator. Warm a muffin tray in the oven during the last 15 minutes of cooking the beef.
Transfer the beef to a warm plate and rest covered in foil for 30 minutes. The meat juices will pool on the plate to be used in the gravy. Remove the vegetables from the tray and keep warm (or you can pop them back in the oven for 10 minutes prior to serving). Keep the roasting tray aside for the gravy.
Turn the oven up to 220°C. Melt the dripping or fat in a saucepan and pour 1 cm into the base of each mould in the warm muffin tray. Place in the oven until the fat is smoking. Pour the batter into each mould to three-quarters full. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the gravy. Heat the beef stock in a saucepan. Warm the roasting tray gently over low heat loosening the sediment at the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour in the pinot and boil until reduced by half. Add the juices from the beef plate and the hot stock and reduce once more. If you prefer your gravy on the thick side, you can make a cold paste of 2 teaspoons of butter with 2 teaspoons of plain flour and whisk this into the gravy, simmering over low heat for 8–10 minutes.
Slice the beef and serve with the vegetables and puddings. Pour on the gravy.