First let me say to my readers, I hope that you’re all having a blessed Yule and a Happy Hanukkah! It seems as if we’ve made it another year around the sun (or just about, since we still have New Years to get through). I imagine we’re all pretty stuffed from all the holiday party food we’ve been stuffing in our faces, and if you’re like me, you’ve been busy cooking and baking up a storm. For example, I made roasted butternut squash for 20+ people (I will make this again and put the recipe up here, I promise! — after all, I was BEGGED to bring it back after it was a huge success at Thanksgiving), along with rolls and dessert. I’ll post my favorite photo from Yule Eve family dinner because I’m really proud of what my great-nephews made me for Yule.
That’s me in the red shirt, holding the card made for me by my wonderful geeky nephews (the inside has a pic of Nightcrawler and one of Cyclops and my younger nephew wrote that they loved me), obviously my nephews, and their mother (my oldest niece) in the pink shirt. It was fantastic.
Since we did the BIG dinner (did I mention 20+ people?????) on Yule Eve, that meant that Yule itself was rather quiet for myself, the Roommate, my sister and our 83-year-old aunt. We exchanged gifts, made breakfast tacos, which were fucking delicious, and then just hung out and talked. My sister tried to teach the Roommate how to crochet, I tried to catch up on Tumblr. And later, I made what I’m about to post here — a very English fare of roast beef, roasted potatoes and carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. The reason I’m posting this here is that when I tell some people that I make that, I get the inevitable question:
What the hell is Yorkshire pudding? I know. The first time I ate this meal at my childhood best friend’s house, I was probably six-years-old (maybe five), and I couldn’t understand why we were eating pudding with roast! Well, it was delicious, and I was hooked for life.
The history of Yorkshire pudding, as was told to me by my BF’s mom was that in England in the Middle Ages (or so), there wasn’t always a lot of meat to go around for some tables. So the Yorkshire pudding, which is a simple and dense bread, was brought out before the meat and veg dish with drippings from the meat so that people would fill up on that first, and then the lack of meat wasn’t noticed so much. Trust me, this bread is filling, but it is just so good with gravy that you can’t stop eating it unless you’ve just got an aversion to bread.
This is a simple meal and one that’s been my traditional Yule meal since my first Yule with the ex. He obliged by making the roast (remember, I wasn’t really encouraged to cook much other than a few side dishes and casseroles while I was with him — he didn’t like anyone else to outshine him in the kitchen, bless his Narcissistic little heart), and I made the Yorkshire pudding. My first years of making it, the bread poofed up and browned nicely. Then we lived in New Mexico, and it stopped poofing the way it’s supposed to. After that, it didn’t for a long time. My sister recorded a Jamie Oliver episode where he made roast and Yorkshire pudding, and he mentioned that the recipe calls for 2 eggs, so add an extra one for more poof. I started doing that, and it’s been perfect ever since. So obviously, if you double the recipe for more guests, instead of four eggs, add six.
Now. For the roast, well, I’m going to remind you that it depends on what kind of roast you’re making. Each type and weight will have its own cooking time. What I used was a 4lb eye of round roast. So I’ll proceed from there. This is an image light post because there aren’t a lot of in-process shots that were necessary this time.
4lb eye of round roast
Lightly salted butter, 1/2 a stick to a whole stick
4+ potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
Half to a whole bag of baby carrots (they’re just easier to use!)
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
1 cup Knorr beef caldo (powder dissolved into 1 cup of hot water)
1 tsp of thyme
Heat your oven to 295ºF. Take your roaster (I used a shallow roasting pan) and use enough of the butter to grease the pan. Don’t melt the butter, just make sure it’s soft enough to spread. Coat the roasting pan with it. This will help the potatoes and carrots and the roast taste better than if you used vegetable oil. Set the roast in the center and score the top with a sharp knife. The cuts shouldn’t be that deep, just enough so that when you coat the outside of the roast with part of the butter, some will get into the grooves and help the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Place your potatoes and carrots all around the roast in the pan. Sprinkle the thyme across the top of the roast and then cover with the diced shallot. Some of the shallot will fall into the veggies, but try to keep most of them on top of the roast. Take the cup of caldo and pour all over the potatoes and carrots and pour some GENTLY onto the roast — you don’t want to wash away the thyme or shallot. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for an hour and a half. You can check it periodically to baste with the caldo, but you don’t have to. At this cooking time, your roast should be a beautiful medium rare to medium in the center.
(for Yorkshire Pudding)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs (remember to add a 3rd, and then double to 6 if doubling the recipe)
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 400º. Sift flour and salt together. Add eggs and milk and beat with hand mixer on the highest speed until smooth. Pour into shallow baking dish (I used a cast iron skillet) with hot oil or beef drippings in it. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut and serve at once with hot roast beef. Makes 6 servings.
The first two pics are right after it’s been mixed and put into the skillet.
The next two photos are how it looks when it comes out of the oven.
See how poofy and toasty brown it is? It will fall a little once it’s out of the oven with a still-poofy back crust. It’s the best, I swear.
If you want to know how I make the perfect gravy for the roast, I’ll tell you.
2 cups beef caldo – HOT
2-4 drops of Maggi
2 drops of browning sauce
3 tbsp flour
remaining beef drippings from roasting pan
In your glass measuring cup — I’m assuming you have a Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glass measuring cup (I have two 2 cup ones and one 4 cup ones; these are perfect, buy some!) — mix the caldo and add the Maggi and browning sauces. Make sure the water is still hot when you do this and then add in the flour. Whisk until the flour is blended. To a sauce pan, add the beef drippings from the pan and then the mixture in the measuring cup. On a high heat, to start, stir/whisk until it’s as thick as you want it.
The last photo is, of course, the whole plate completed. There wasn’t a single smear of gravy left when I finished!