Roast Beef

(recipe, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

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A roast-beef dinner with all the trimmings — Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes, glazed carrots, gravy, and horseradish or mustard — is about as special a meal as I can cook for close friends and family.


  1. 1 joint aged rib of beef (3 to 4 ribs' worth) or aged sirloin on the bone, 8 to 12 pounds
  2. Olive oil or soft beef drippings
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Massage the whole joint with olive oil or drippings and season lightly all over with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and place in a hot oven (425 to 450 degrees). Cook for about 30 minutes, until the meat is well browned and sizzling. (If you've chosen a piece of top loin with the fillet still attached, carve off the fillet at this point or it will get horribly overcooked. Heat it up in a hot pan later if you like, but it will be delicious at room temperature.)
  2. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees (leave the oven door open for half a minute to help it cool quickly). Experience teaches you to know your oven and how you like your meat, but I can offer the following guidelines: After the first "half-hour sizzle," allow 9 to 10 minutes per pound for very rare meat, 12 to 15 minutes for medium, or 18 to 20 minutes if you insist on having it well done. The shorter cooking times are for joints of 10 pounds and above.
  3. Remove the meat from the oven. Transfer it to a warm serving platter or carving tray and cover loosely with a piece of foil. Leave to rest for no less than half an hour before carving and serving.
  4. While the meat is relaxing, you can deglaze the roasting pan to finish your gravy, put the Yorkshire Pudding in the oven, and finish off the roast potatoes. To serve up, I like to carve the meat on a sideboard, putting beef, Yorkshire pudding, and roast potatoes on each warmed plate, while dishes of the other vegetables and boats of gravy, horseradish, and mustard circulate around the table.