They're not hard to cook (once you've got the timings sussed), but there's something rather lovely about sitting down to a selection of veg, potatoes and a great big chunk of meat - especially when someone else has slaved over the hot oven for it.
I quite like to serve up a variety of stuff too - so people can have as much or as little of what they fancy. Generally broccoli, cabbage (cooked in butter) and roast potatoes (cooked with garlic and rosemary) will make appearances. But if I'm cooking for a crowd I'll probably add a gratin or a cauliflower cheese, some home-made stuffing and some mash.
Meat wise, I tend to stick to chicken or lamb... although I am cooking more and more pork at the moment. But I rarely cook beef - I don't know why - maybe I just feel that I don't know enough about the different cuts and cooking methods... which is actually a rather fine excuse to start cooking more of it...
Anyhoo, I recently got my hands on a rib of beef from Mr Pickles. It's a cut I'd wanted to cook for a while (the ribeye is my favourite steak) but I just kept on putting it off on the basis that I might somehow mess it up. Which was a bit silly really...
It was a fantastic looking piece of meat - even raw I think I'd have been quite happy burying my face into it... And, although I only had one rib, it was still a sizeable portion at around 1.8 kg.
Rib of Beef
Wanting to cook it somewhere between rare and medium rare, I turned to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's MEAT book for reference and stuck the meat (stood upright and uncovered) in a hot oven (210C) for 20 minutes. I then turned the oven down to 160C for a further 40 minuets (on the basis that each 500g needed 10 minutes to be served rare). I then wrapped it up in foil and rested it for a good half hour whilst I did the gravy.
I poured off some of the fat from the roasting dish, then sat it on the hob, on a low heat. I added chopped onion and carrot (I was out of celery) and a couple of bay leaves and let it all cook in the juices (stirring and scrapping up the meaty bits along the way) until soft. Then I added a dessert-spoon of flour and stirred it to form a thick paste. Next in was a decent glug of red wine, then around a pint of stock (which I added slowly, whisking all the while to prevent lumps). I then let everything simmer until it was the right consistency for my liking (around 20 minutes) and strained the liquid into a gravy jug.
Because I was feeling lazy, I just served the beef with mash and a bit of veg, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The meat was stunning - I can't believe I hadn't cooked it before - especially as it was incredibly easy to do AND it only took an hour and a half (including resting). I swear... I've seen more complicated and time consuming recipes for salads...