icon English Roast Beef à la Emeril Lagasse

Succulent roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and proper gravy - what could be more British. The love of beef goes back to at least the 15th century. When Henry VII formed the royal bodyguard they became known, and still are today, as the Beefeaters for the quantities of meat the soldiers were allowed by way of ration. By the late 1600s, the Engish love of beef becamse even more firmly established. Beef became known as the meat of the industrious middle classes, the artisans and traders - the backbone of England.

Today, there are two very old, very fashionable and very traditional English restaurants in London that specialize in serving Roast Beef: Simpson's in the Strand and Rules in Covent Garden (the oldest restaurant in London). On the other hand, the whole point of a roast beef dinner is a celebration of home: the aroma of caramelizing meat filling the house on a Sunday afternoon, the hungry anticipation, the ceremonial carving, and finally the state of wholly satiated, slumberous contentment.

Yet, for all its aura of sumptuous indulgence, roasting is a fairly basic method of cooking meat. It does not rely on complicated seasonings, but mainly on the fat from the meat itself to create flavor. In place of the complicated sauces of French gastronomy, it uses only the roasting juices mixed with stock and thickened with flour – otherwise known as gravy.

Here is a favorite recipe from Emeril Lagasse. It adds a tiny little touch of New Orleans through a dash of Creole Seasoning, but otherwise sticks to the English tradition. We also like to marinade the roast to enhance to flavor. This recipe uses a mustard-based rub, but other possibilities include a red-wine or sherry-based marinade that could be either basted on injected.

The choice of meat is obviously critical. It is a mistake to assume that everything on the supermarket shelf with "roast" in its name will work as roast beef. Some roasts are intended for pot roasts that take hours of cooking in a liquid to make them tender enough for civilized consumption. Choose a piece from the back, ribs, fillet or sirloin. A filet roast is lean and tender, but very expensive. A rib roast (sometimes called a prime rib roast) is not as lean and tender, but is juicier and more flavorful. A good compromise between the two is a rib-eye roast, which is basically a boneless, low-fat rib roast. Other candidates for roast beef include top loin roast, top sirloin butt roast, tri-tip roast, round tip roast, and rump roast.

Roast beef in England is served with horseradish, Yorkshire Pudding, roasted potatoes. We also like to accompany it with sautéed vegetables.

Mint sauce is reserved for lamb roast.



For the Roast
  • 1 (3 to 3 1/2-pound) good-quality beef for roasting, see above
  • 3 tbsp coarsely ground mustard; if using hot English mustard i.e. Colman's 1/2 tbsp will do
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 cups canned low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup water

For the Yorkshire Pudding

  • 2 eggs
  • Flour
  • Splash of milk
  • Cold water
  • Pinch of salt

For the Roasted Potatoes

  • 8 medium-size potatoes, cut in half
  • Oil or fat for roasting


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 deg F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, Creole Seasoning, salt, pepper and thyme. Rub on the meat on all sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 1 day. The longer the marinading, the more intense the flavor at the end. See below for other marinade ideas.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and brown meat on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the roast from the pan and add the onion slices and thyme sprigs. Place the roast on top of the onions, fat side up. Add the beef broth to the pan and place in the oven, uncovered. Roast until rare (the beef is tender and registers an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees F), about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or, cook to 160 deg F (71 deg C) for medium, and 170 deg F (77 deg C) for well-done.
  5. Transfer the roast to a platter or cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  6. Meanwhile, use a slotted spoon to discard the onions and thyme sprigs. Place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat to heat the beef drippings. Combine the flour and water in a small bowl until dissolved. Add the flour mixture to the beef drippings and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer to a gravy boat or decorative bowl.
  7. If serving the roast warm, slice the meat about 1/2 inch thick and serve with vegetables sauteed in butter, Yorkshire pudding or pan-roasted potatoes.
  8. If serving cold, slice the meat very thin, and serve with cold sauces, mustard, fresh and pickled vegetables, and cream horseradish.

Yorkshire Puddding

  1. Make while meat is resting. Beat eggs. Add enough flour to make a paste (dough should look a little stringy). As soon as the meat is taken from the oven, increase heat to 400 deg F.
  2. Put about 1 tbsp of fat from meat into each section of a patty tin. Put tin in oven to get hot. Meanwhile, add milk and salt to paste and beat well. Add enough cold water to make a thin batter and beat well. Pour into patty tins.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes. Should rise well, be light brown and crisp and be hollow in the center.

Roasted Potatoes

  1. Peel the potatoes, cut in half or to desired size. Boil in lightly salted water for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375-400 deg F. Heat the oil or fat in a roasting pan to cover bottom of pan.
  3. Drain potatoes, put into hot oil and baste. Bake for 60-90 minutes, basting about 3 more times and turning potatoes over.


Other Marinade Ideas:
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme seasoning
  • Dash of white pepper
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a plastic bag, mix and add the roast. Turn over several times to coat marinade all over roast, tie plastic bag securely, with twist tie, to prevent any leakage.
  2. Marinade for 1-24 hours, turning several times.
  3. Options: some sherry or madeira can be substituted for part of the wine. The Marinade can be injected into the meat, instead of marinading in a bowl. Injecting saves time and also gives a more intense flavor.
... or ...
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp coarse-ground mustard
  • 10 sprig fresh thyme, or 1 tbsp dried
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. Remove thyme leaves from sprigs and finely chop. Finely chop garlic.
  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Add vegetable oil if necessary. The result should be a thick paste.
  3. Rub paste on the roast from all sides and place in a refrigerator.
  4. Marinade for 1-24 hours. The longer the marinading, the more intense the flavor   ...from Cowboys Steakhouse in Prague

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Last updated: October 4, 2015