Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Beef roast, Yorkshire Pudding will transport guests to Britain

Here's How

The elegant standing rib roast has graced many a holiday dinner table in this country, but it is the standout favorite in England. Today's recipe originally came from a friend's mother who is English, and who has served this beef roast with the traditional side dish of crispy Yorkshire Pudding for many years.

When we hear the word "pudding" in this country we most likely think of a sweet, creamy dessert. "Pudding" has several meanings in Britain. For example, it is also a term used for the sweet course at the end of a meal. So if an English child asks, "What's for pud, mom?" he may get ice cream or cake for an answer. Then there are all of those heavy steamed fruit cakes (the origin or our traditional dark holiday fruitcakes) called "Christmas puddings" or "steamed puddings."

Today's recipe, the famous "Yorkshire Pudding," is a savory dish so named because it originated in that English county. In the old days, they greased a pan with ample butter, then poured in the batter and placed it in the fire directly under the joint of beef turning on its spit. The hot drippings flavored the mixture as the fire underneath turned it into a puffy crisp pudding.

Modern kitchen technology changed the method for making Yorkshire Pudding and now we must first roast the beef before we make the pudding because the pan drippings are an essential ingredient. The batter can be quickly and easily mixed in the blender and ready to go when the roast is done. After the drippings are poured into the baking pan, you must put the pan back into the hot oven just long enough for it to bubble. (Don't allow it to smoke.) The batter should sizzle when it is poured into the pan.

While the pudding bakes, place foil over the roast and allow it to rest to stabilize its juices before carving. To serve, cut the hot pudding into large squares, nap the beef slices with the sauce and serve immediately. The Madeira sauce may be made hours ahead and reheated. It is best made with a good homemade beef stock, but canned beef broth may be used.

Standing Rib Roast with Madeira Sauce and Yorkshire Pudding

1 standing rib roast (4 to 6 pounds)

3 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix oil, salt, garlic and pepper. Rub on surface of roast. Place, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Place in the preheated oven and roast to desired doneness.

Check for doneness by inserting instant-read meat thermometer in center of the beef.

Remove beef from the oven and allow to sit while the pudding bakes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Madeira Sauce

3 tablespoons Madeira (fortified wine made in Portugal)

1 cup beef stock

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

Salt, to taste

Dash white pepper

Add 1 tablespoon Madeira to the beef stock and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Keep warm.

In a separate heavy saucepan, melt butter and add flour. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. (The flour should take on a pale brown color.) Whisk in the warm stock. Simmer 3 minutes and finish with remaining Madeira. Season to taste. Makes 11/2 cups.

Yorkshire Pudding

Pan drippings from roast beef

4 large eggs

21/2 cups whole milk

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

As soon as beef is removed from oven, raise the temperature to 450 degrees. Pour the pan drippings into a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Add the eggs, milk, flour and salt to blender, in that order.

Place the pan in the hot oven just long enough to heat the pan drippings until bubbling but not smoking. Remove and pour in the batter.

Place pan in center of oven and bake until pudding is puffed and dark golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Contact Marilyn Harris by mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; e-mail:

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